DEAD­LOCK – All-in­clu­siv­ity and ac­com­mo­da­tion keys to na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

All-in­clu­siv­ity and ac­com­mo­da­tion keys to na­tional unity and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

Sai Wan­sai

Two im­por­tant meet­ings likely to help move for­ward the stalled peace process were held be­tween the gov­ern­ment’s Peace Coun­cil (PC) and the United Na­tion­al­i­ties Fed­eral Coun­cil’s (UNFC) Del­e­ga­tion for Po­lit­i­cal Ne­go­ti­a­tion (DPN) on Oc­to­ber 23 to 24 and the PC and the 8 Na­tion­wide Cease­fire Agree­ment (NCA) sig­na­tory Eth­nic Armed Or­ga­ni­za­tions (EAOs) on Oc­to­ber 25 to 26.

DPN-PC meet­ing

The seventh round of peace talks—which took place in Yan­gon be­tween the DPN and the PC was said to be very thor­ough with only mil­i­tary-re­lated af­fairs left to dis­cuss, ac­cord­ing to spokesper­sons from both par­ties. Ac­cord­ing to Zaw Htay, the pres­i­dent’s of­fice spokesman, the rea­son the mil­i­tary mat­ters re­main for fur­ther dis­cus­sion was due to the ab­sence of mil­i­tary of­fi­cials from both sides who will have to set de­tailed talks next time about de­ploy­ing troops. Re­port­edly, the most ar­gued point is UNFC’s NCA amend­ment pro­posal num­ber 5. This calls for prior agree­ment on the mil­i­tary Code of Con­duct (CoC) and terms of ref­er­ence (ToR), the gov­ern­ment wants the UNFC mem­bers to sign the NCA first and work on CoC and ToR later, some­thing they are re­luc­tant to do. Also, the UNFC’s num­ber 6 amend­ment pro­posal, on the for­ma­tion of an in­de­pen­dent mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tee to in­clude in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives ac­cept­able to both sides, is still not re­solved as the gov­ern­ment side is hes­i­tant on such an un­der­tak­ing. The DPN’s vice leader Nai Ong Ma Nga pointed out other ob­sta­cles rather than just the men­tioned points. In an in­ter­view on Oc­to­ber 25 he said, “For ex­am­ple if we look at the orig­i­nal nine-point UNFC pro­posal, we stated that na­tion­wide cease­fire has to be de­clared. It means cov­er­ing the whole coun­try, but what comes out, in the end, is not na­tion­wide but a cease­fire which would only be ef­fec­tive within UNFC or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ter­ri­to­ries, which is quite a loss (seen from our bar­gain­ing po­si­tion).”

Gov­ern­ment – 8 EAOs meet­ing

Since the sec­ond Union Peace Con­fer­ence-21st Cen­tury Pan­g­long (UPC-21CP) was held from May 24 un­til 29, re­la­tions be­tween the eight sig­na­to­ries EAOs and the gov­ern­ment have cooled. But it seems the first-ever joint meet­ing or­gan­ised by the gov­ern­ment with the sig­na­to­ries might have mo­ti­vated them to move fur­ther with the stalled peace process. Dur­ing the meet­ing, the sig­na­tory EAOs tabled a 21point pro­posal to re­view the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NCA. “We mainly dis­cussed weak­nesses in im­ple­ment­ing the NCA. We ex­changed views on mov­ing for­ward for peace while work­ing on the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue and the cease­fire. Out of the 21 points we dis­cussed, the ma­jor­ity are agreed upon by both sides,” said Zaw Htay, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Peace Com­mis­sion, who is also the Pres­i­dent’s of­fice spokesman. “We be­lieve that both sides are sat­is­fied with the two-day meet­ing. Both sides reached con­sen­sus on over half of the 21 points pro­posed by the eth­nic armed groups and ex­changed views on the re­main­ing points,” Htun Htun Oo, the Union At­tor­ney-Gen­eral said.

Fol­low­ing the gov­ern­ment and the 8 sig­na­tory EAOs meet­ing, on Oc­to­ber 30-31, the State Coun­selor Aung San Suu Kyi headed Union Peace Di­a­logue Joint Com­mit­tee (UPDJC) 12th meet­ing com­posed of the gov­ern­ment, Tat­madaw, par­lia­ment, sig­na­tory EAOs and po­lit­i­cal par­ties, in or­der to map out on how to go about the up­com­ing UPC-21CP in De­cem­ber. But re­port­edly, the meet­ing ended with­out be­ing able to reach agree­ment on a lot of is­sues.

Anal­y­sis

Af­ter look­ing at the two meet­ings, in­clud­ing the meet­ing of the re­cent UPDJC, we can see there re­mains an in­abil­ity to fin­ish proper guide­lines in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NCA and a fail­ure to ac­com­mo­date all-in­clu­sive par­tic­i­pa­tion of re­main­ing non-sig­na­tory EAOs. This con­tin­ues to hin­der the peace process. Also, dis­agree­ment on the first Union Ac­cord stem­ming from the May UPC-21CP that was sup­posed to be tabled and en­dorsed by par­lia­ment was not ac­cept­able to many EAOs and po­lit­i­cal par­ties be­cause they were not done ac­cord­ing to NCA pro­ce­dure. Again, the pro­hi­bi­tion of State-level po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion on the Restora­tion Coun­cil of Shan State (RCSS) and the Arakan Lib­er­a­tion Party (ALP), both sig­na­to­ries of the NCA, by the gov­ern­ment and the Tat­madaw could be also seen as a lack of proper guide­lines which ac­tu­ally should come from Frame­work for Po­lit­i­cal Di­a­logue (FPD), which still hasn’t been fi­nal­ized. Re­gard­ing all-in­clu­sive­ness, the gov­ern­ment is still un­able to recog­nise the Fed­eral Po­lit­i­cal Ne­go­ti­a­tion and Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee (FPNCC) also known as North­ern Al­liance and ne­go­ti­ate with it. Mean­while, the woo­ing of the re­main­ing four UNFC mem­bers to come into the peace process would need some ac­com­mo­da­tion, on the part of the gov­ern­ment.

Apart from the men­tioned short­com­ings, the gov­ern­ment is now faced with the same old dilemma of the last two years, to either go for­ward with just the eight sig­na­to­ries EAOs, out of the 21 EAOs, and achieve lit­tle or noth­ing po­lit­i­cally, or try to ac­com­mo­date in any way pos­si­ble the re­main­ing EAOs. The gov­ern­ment now has to make an in­formed, and rea­son­able choice to get out of this dead­lock or face con­tin­ued de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in all as­pects of gov­er­nance and in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion.

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