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February 21, 2019

KNU decision raises prospect of national ceasefire signing

The Union government and ethnic armed organizations may sign a national ceasefire accord at high-level talks in Nay Pyi Taw later this month, a senior adviser at the Myanmar Peace Centre said Monday.
The Nay Pyi Taw meeting is tentatively set for between 25 and 27 August, but the date will not be finalised until the list of attendees from the ethnic side is confirmed, U Hla Maung Shwe told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
“We don’t have an announcement of a specific date right now, as the list of ethnic leaders who will make a call on President U Thein Sein is not confirmed yet,” he said. Prospects for the signing of the NCA improved after the Karen National Union agreed to ink the ceasefire deal alongside groups invited by the president to sign the truce pact. The President last Tuesday pledged a step-by-step implementation of a peace process inclusive of all of the country’s ethnic armed groups. The President indicated that the Tatmadaw has no intention of staging major military operations against any such groups except in defence of national sovereignty. A two-day extraordinary meeting of the KNU in Hpa-an district, Kayin State, on Saturday approved the outcome of the ninth round of talks between a senior delegation of EAOs and the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee with a decision to sign the NCA. In a report by the Karen Information Centre on Sunday, KNU general secretary Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win was quotedas saying the KNU will not be dogmatic about signing the deal with the inclusion of all ethnic armed groups. The KNU decision was aimed at clearing the inclusiveness hurdle to the peace deal, said the general secretary, who is also a member of the EAO’s senior delegates. Further efforts would be made to include groups sidelined in the current process, he added. According to sources, five top ethnic armed group leaders and three senior delegates plan to meet the President and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Service Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw after a summit of EAOs on 21-23 August in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


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