August 19, 2016

LIMITED INCLUSION — NCA to guide 21st Century Panglong Conference

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi chairs Union-level Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) meeting.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi chairs Union-level Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) meeting.

THE 21st Century Panglong conference will be convened based on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity as chairperson of the Union-level Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC), adding that the UPDJC will thus remain active during the peace process. She spoke at a UPDJC meeting yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw.
The State Counsellor also said the UPDJC will be reformed, and discussions on the details of the reforms will continue during Saturday’s meeting.
“The organisational structure of the UPDJC will have to be changed, and this will be discussed today and tomorrow. In this function, the changes are required to suit political changes and to meet future needs. Changes are believed to contribute to our peace process,” she said.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that although she has not acted as a representative of the National League for Democracy during UPDJC meetings, she has held discussions with stakeholders in the peace process in her capacity as NLD chairperson.
“Our policies and attitudes will remain the same because we will not deviate from the NLD’s policies and principles in the reformation of the organisational structure of the UPDJC or in changing certain terms and conditions as permitted by the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA),” she said.
“The main objective of this meeting is for the peace process to go on smoothly, to reform the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC), and also to prepare for the Union Peace Conference. There are certain people who are asking if the Union Peace Conference and the 21st Century Panglong Conference are one and the same or two different fora. My answer is that they are one and the same. Despite using two different names, they are the same event, but both names are used as they both appeal to the taste of the people,” the State Counsellor explained.
She continued to say the NLD will adhere to the same policies and principles concerning peace, and if changes are made, they will be made as and where appropriate to be in accordance with existing principles and policies.
The attendees of the UPDJC meeting include members of ethnic minority groups, political organisations, civil society organisations and government offices, she added.
“The people from government are new, but there are some old ones, depending upon their positions. Although the ministers are new, they represent the same ministries as before,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“The three people from the NLD are old representatives. So are the people from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). There are also old representatives from other political parties. I’d like to say there will be changes concerning them; changes are made not just because of election results but also out of principle. Currently, there are over 90 political parties. We cannot reach an agreement as to whether they are all allowed to represent their parties at the peace conference,” she said.
“We believe that the participation of the political parties should be based on their representation in the hluttaws. What I’d like to say is that not all political parties will be represented, but parties that have at least one representative in a hluttaw will be allowed to attend the peace conference. You may say this means the other political parties are not involved in the peace conference. No, they are also involved. How? There are CSOs. The role of CSOs in the peace process can be explained like this: they have two-pronged role. One role is they are directly involved in the peace process. The other role is a parallel role—they serve as their own forum [in which political parties may participate]. We’ve chosen the second way,” said the State Counsellor.
“There are many CSOs in our country. If they all attend the peace conference, there will be a substantial inflation. The main objective of the conference is to be able to effectively implement the peace process. That’s why we’ve decided to hold a CSO forum. Today, our main task is the reorganisation of UPDJC. In this regard, I would like to have the opinions of all current members of the UPDJC. We’ll also present the views of the new members. We’ll exchange views to make a final decision. We can’t delay things. The UPDJC will have to be reorganised promptly. Only after reorganisation will we be able to prepare for the peace conference,” she said.
The reorganisation of the UPDJC and the reformulation of the resolutions will be discussed in today’s meeting.


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