December 21, 2016

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Gov’t, armed groups remain deadlocked, agree to ‘final’ talks in Nay Pyi Taw

Negotiators from the government and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations conclude talks in Yangon, with a further round set to take place later this month in Nay Pyi Taw.
Negotiators from the government and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations conclude talks in Yangon, with a further round set to take place later this month in Nay Pyi Taw.

Negotiations on a national ceasefire accord remained deadlocked Friday over the number of ethnic armed groups to be included in the signing of the agreement.
Despite the hurdle, the negotiation teams representing the government and ethnic armed groups managed to finalize the contents of the peace deal on the final day of the ninth round of talks at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon.
The document, comprising 33 paragraphs and seven chapters, will be made public soon, according to a joint statement between the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations.
At a press conference, spokesmen for the two sides said top leaders from both parties are expected to meet in Nay Pyi Taw later this month to iron out their difference over the issue of inclusiveness in the signing process.
Ethnic armed group spokesman Pu Zing Cung reiterated his side’s insistence that all 17 senior delegation members be included in the NCA signing.
U Hla Maung Shwe, spokesman for the government side, repeated the government policy of initially signing the deal alongside the 15 ethnic armed groups with which it has already struck bilateral peace agreements.
The ethnic side said no guarantees had yet been given against attacks by government forces on groups not included in the signing process.
Nai Hong Sar, another ethnic spokesman, said a nationwide ceasefire would be meaningless if groups still locked in fighting with the government were not part of the signing process.
The ninth round of talks marked the second formal meeting between the UPWC and the recently formed delegation of senior ethnic armed group representatives.
According to the press conference, the Nay Pyi Taw meeting will be the final negotiations on whether the signing of NCA will take place before the country’s 8 November election.

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