September 25, 2017

Gov’t, ethnic armed groups optimistic of ceasefire deal after Day 2

U Hla Maung Shwe (L), Pu Zing Cung (C) and Nai Hong Sa answered questions of media at a press conference after the second day of finalizing the national ceasefire deal at Myanmar Peace Centre on Thursday.  Photo: Ye Myint
U Hla Maung Shwe (L), Pu Zing Cung (C) and Nai Hong Sa answered questions of media at a press conference after the second day of finalizing the national ceasefire deal at Myanmar Peace Centre on Thursday. Photo: Ye Myint

Yangon, 23 July — Negotiators representing the government and ethnic armed group reached agreement on 10 of 13 amendments to a prospective national ceasefire deal Thursday, on the second day of talks aimed at finalizing the draft pact.
With only three amendments outstanding after the two days of talks, the Union Peace-Making Work Committee and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations are confident of finalizing the draft pact during the current round, negotiators said.
Pu Zing Cung, a deputy leader of the ethnic delegation, said all proposed amendments have been discussed during the two days, but some points need approval from the command centre of the ethnic side.
Among the amendments approved on Day 2 was the stipulation that women should comprise around 30 percent of participants in political dialogue after the ceasefire deal, he added. U Hla Maung Shwe, senior adviser at Myanmar Peace Centre, said the government side was hopeful of reaching agreement on the pending three points within three or four days.
“Amendment of the draft nationwide ceasefire accord is expected to be finalized within a few days,” he said.
Negotiations on who the NCA signatories and international witnesses should be and the number of ethnic armed groups to ink the ceasefire deal are set to take place on the third day of the talks, added the MPC senior adviser.
At the press conference following Day 2, spokespersons for both sides described the atmosphere of the latest talks as “a win-win situation.”
Although Day 2 was concluded around 4.30 pm, the press conference started late as ethnic negotiators held informal talks with their government counterparts on ongoing fighting in some parts of the country.
On the issue, representatives from the Tatmadaw said at the talks that the military does not wish to see fighting while peace talks are under way, according to Pu Zing Cung. — GNLM

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