NCA anniversary guests
The government plans to invite non-signatory ethnic armed groups to mark the second anniversary of the NCA at an event this Sunday, said a government official.
THE government will invite nonsignatory armed ethnic organisations to the second anniversary celebration this Sunday of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement that it signed with eight armed organisations in 2015.
U Zaw Htay, director general of the State Counsellor’s Office told The Myanmar Times on Tuesday that invitation will be sent within a few days to the non-signatory groups.
According to U Zaw Htay, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Commander-in-chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Karen National Union’s chairperson Pado Saw Mutu Say Poe will deliver speeches at the event.
“We are now preparing to celebrate. We are arranging to invite the guests and will invite within a few days,” he added.
In addition, former President U Thein Sein, along with his chief negotiator U Aung Min and his peace team will also be invited to the event, he said.
The celebration is planned to be held in Nay Pyi Taw, where heads of incumbent and former administration, military leaders will also attend.
In an effort to end more than six decades of internal military conflicts between the government and various ethnic representing armed organisations, U Thein Sein invited ethnic armed organisations for peace talks.
After nearly 20 months of negotiation between government and a dozen of armed ethnic organisations, the NCA draft was achieved in March 2015 and subsequently signed on October 15, the same year by former administration and eight armed organisations.
Representatives from Chin National Front (CNF), Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Karen National Union (KNU), Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council (KNLA-PC) that are signatory groups will appear at the event.
U Zaw Htay said that government is also discussing with signatory groups on the prospect of holding the next 21st Century Panglong Conference that has to happen before the end of this year.
A senior official from Ta’ang National Liberation Army said they would not decide whether to attend or not hastily even if invited by the government.
“If invited, we need to consult among our members. We do not have the invitation yet. It may be difficult as it is very close. To get the invitation card is important. We can’t say definitely right now,” said Tar Joke Jar, vice chair of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
TNLA is now a member of Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee that has called for replacement of NCA with a more justified peace agreement because of its ineffectiveness in ending armed conflicts, which government has so far not replied.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at his opening remark of last Panglong conference in May this year said there is no alternative way to achieve peace other than NCA.
The non-signatories – groups that based in northern part of Myanmar, that now forms the FPNCC led by United Wa State Army, and members of United Nationalities Federal Council, refused to sign the NCA in 2015 because of its nature of partiality.
Former government did not invite the three groups – ethnic Kokang, Ta’ang and Arakan armies that formed alliance in 2015 and staged military offensives against the government in Kokang self-administered areas.
The ruling government demanded the three groups to denounce their arms should they want to secure seats at peace negotiation table, which the groups have so far not accepted yet.
Despite initial efforts to meet with the three groups earlier this year, the talks did not happen over disagreement on the type of talks, as government did not agree the groups’ demand for the presence of UWSA, KIA and China.
Government and UNFC’s negotiation on the latter’s nine points proposal have also not succeeded. Since taking office in April last year, no new group has signed the NCA with the ruling-NLD government.