Non-sig­na­to­ries, govt make strides to­ward join­ing NCA

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI TOE LWIN eieitoel­win@mm­times.com

THE Del­e­ga­tion for Po­lit­i­cal Ne­go­ti­a­tion (DPN), which speaks for sev­eral non-sig­na­to­ries to the na­tion­wide cease­fire, reached agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment on four of eight points dis­cussed with the lat­ter’s peace prepara­tory com­mit­tee, led by U Tin Myo Win, in Nay Pyi Taw yes­ter­day.

Though specifics on the agreed-upon points – and re­main­ing points of con­tention – were not elab­o­rated on at a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s meet­ing, del­e­gates on both sides said the mu­tual per­spec­tive they had ar­rived at would im­prove prospects for nonsigna­to­ries to the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment (NCA) join­ing that pact soon.

“[Non-NCA groups] will be able to sign the NCA as we agreed to some points,” Khu Oo Reh, a spokesper­son for the DPN, told re­porters after the meet­ing. The DPN acts as a ne­go­ti­at­ing body for the United Na­tion­al­i­ties Fed­eral Coun­cil (UNFC), an al­liance of seven eth­nic armed groups that have not signed the NCA.

The UNFC put for­ward eight de­mands ahead of the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence ear­lier this year, in­clud­ing the dec­la­ra­tion of a bi­lat­eral cease­fire by both the Tat­madaw and the UNFC, as well as push­ing for agree­ment on the com­po­si­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tion at tri­par­tite peace ne­go­ti­a­tions to come.

Other de­mands in­cluded draft­ing and en­act­ing a con­sti­tu­tion based on the out­comes of the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, agree­ment on mil­i­tary codes of con­duct and the for­ma­tion of a cease­fire Joint Mon­i­tor­ing Com­mit­tee (JMC) with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the gov­ern­ment, eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­ter­na­tional fig­ures ac­cept­able to both par­ties.

The UNFC also wants to see the for­ma­tion of a neu­tral en­force­ment tri­bunal for the NCA in­volv­ing do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional law ex­perts and judges that are ac­cept­able to both par­ties, and to en­sure devel­op­ment projects are car­ried out us­ing the Ex­trac­tive In­dus­tries Trans­parency Ini­tia­tive (EITI) as a frame­work.

DPN del­e­gates said yes­ter­day they reached agree­ment on ex­trac­tive re­source is­sues, and on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the gov­ern­ment and eth­nic armed groups to as­sist lo­cal pop­u­la­tions, but the de­tails of some mil­i­tary mat­ters are yet to be ham­mered out.

“We have to wait and see whether the agree­ment will re­ally be car­ried out or not, then we will de­cide whether to sign the NCA,” said Khu Oo Reh, who is also vice chair of the Karenni Na­tional Pro­gres­sive Party.

U Hla Maung Shwe, a gov­ern­ment peace ad­viser, ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the UNFC’s out­stand­ing four points would be re­solved at the next round of talks, which ne­go­tia­tors aim to hold in the first week of Novem­ber.

“Both sides are sat­is­fied with the re­sults of the meet­ing as they built mu­tual trust over some other is­sues. We hope we can sort out the rest of the points at the Novem­ber meet­ing,” U Hla Maung Shwe said.

He added that rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the DPN will par­tic­i­pate in a po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue frame­work meet­ing be­ing held at the Yan­gon of­fice of the Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 18 to 19. Ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent plan, the gov­ern­ment and eth­nic groups will fi­nalise the na­tion­al­level frame­work for po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue at the meet­ing, with fi­nal ap­proval ex­pected at a Union Peace Di­a­logue Joint Com­mit­tee meet­ing in Nay Pyi Taw from Oc­to­ber 21 to 22.

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