Plan to hold 21st Century Union Peace Conference in early 2020
Government delegation and NCA-S EAO (ten Ethnic Armed Organizations signatories of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement) coordination group held a coordination meeting on peace process at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Yangon yesterday morning.
In addressing the meeting NRPC Vice Chairman Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo said the day’s meeting was an important meeting for the peace process. In the day’s meeting the ten EAOs were to discuss and propose in a positive manner the government’s proposal on progress of the peace process. Some un-implemented portions in NCA Section 3 and 4 to strengthen the ceasefire were to be reviewed and government proposed conducting discussions toward implementing it. Agreement was to be achieved between the leaders of the two sides on the process to be set for pre-2020 and post-2020 periods, how to implement in stages and achieving basic federal principles in Union Peace Conference. Government had also proposed setting up and implementing projects that would enable people in ethnic regions to enjoy the peace dividend.
To conduct the proposed work processes simultaneously the main point was to restart official meetings and discussions that had been suspended for quite some time.
The peace process was implemented based on NCA. It was jointly owned by both the government and EAOs. A solution was to be found jointly together by both sides to resolve any difficulties and obstacles that were encountered. Everyone’s aim was to establish a union based on democracy and federal system in accordance to the outcome results of political discussions. There will be weaknesses and requirements as the two sides discuss and coordinate. We will have to amend and reform where necessary in actual practice toward improving and achieving our work process.
Because we had different political aims, we had a long running armed conflict. We now have the goal of a federal democratic union. We needed to discuss on work processes, strategies and tactics toward achieving the goal via the NCA path. We would have to openly discuss both reforms and technical requirements to improve the NCA machinery. At the same time all are urged to discuss and establish work processes aimed for the fourth session of the 21st Century Union Peace Conference.
In the forthcoming 21st Century Panglong Conference it was important for all to approve political agreements on establishing a democratic federal union, agreements on ceasefire, basic principal agreements on democracy and federal and post-2020 period work processes, said the Union Attorney General.
In August, representative group of the Peace Commission met with representatives of NCA-S EAOs in Chiang Mai, Thailand to explain 4 peace process works proposed by the government. Today’s meeting was to discuss government’s peace processes, 4 peace process work proposed to be implemented and NCA-S EAOs’ NCA implementation framework agreement proposed were to be discussed.
Next NCA-S EAO coordination group head U Sai Ngin said we aim to discuss 4 peace process works proposed by the government and NCA implementation framework agreement proposed by NCA-S EAOs.
On one side all-inclusiveness in peace process need to be discussed. Important terms and outcomes of the meeting must be acceptable and fair to all. All are responsible toward achieving this end. Discussion must be for the benefit of the people and the joint owners of NCA rather than for the benefit of one group. We are colleagues going on a same journey on the same boat. Solution to difficulties must be found together in order to overcome difficulties and problems.
NCA was signed taking full responsibility and enactments in the NCA were to be followed without fail. We, the NCA-S EAOs pledge to work and implement together toward achieving the NCA, said U Sai Ngin.
The coordination meeting was attended by NRPC Vice Chairman Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo, NRPC members Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, Lt-Gen Min Naung, NRPC secretary Lt-Gen (retired) Khin Zaw Oo, Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo and Maj-Gen Nay Lin from Commander-in-Chief (Army) Office, Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Pyone Cho, Peace Commission advisors U Hla Maung Shwe and U Moe Zaw Oo, and Director General U Zaw Htay from the Office of the Ministry of the State Counsellor.
Representatives of NCA-S EAO peace negotiation team, who attended the meeting, were its team leader U Sai Ngin, U Myo Win, Dr Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong, Daw Saw Mya Yar Zar Lin, Khun Myint Tun, Nai Aung Ma Ngay, Saw Sein Win, Pado Saw L Klu Sae, Saw Kyaw Nyunt, Saw Lamon, Pado Saw Hsar Gay, Sai Lian, Saw Tar Malar Thaw, Saung Han and Saw Lamon.
After the coordination meeting, Pado Saw Hsar Gay said in his concluding remarks, “Although we planned to hold the meeting for two days up to 11 September, we could conclude it in shorter time as we have prepared well. The government sent the topics for discussion in advance, and we also made suggestions on the facts that should be included in implementation of the NCA. We also discussed further steps in the peace-making processes. The points from this discussion will be reported to our relevant organizations.”
NRPC Vice Chairman Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo said, “We, the government side, discussed the timeline for legal organizations, the working processes and part 3 of the Union Accord for Union Peace Conference. Meanwhile, the representatives of ethnic armed groups also proposed the facts which should be included in the implementation framework for NCA and for building the federal union. These facts will be presented to JICM for approval after holding coordination meetings on these facts between the two sides.”
After the meeting, representative of NCA-S EAO Nai Aung Ma Ngay and Director General U Zaw Htay held a press conference on the meeting.
The Director General said, “The meeting was attended by the representatives from 10 ethnic armed groups which have signed in NCA. The first point of discussion was implementation of the NCA, how both sides will take responsibility and accountability in the implementation as it is concerned with both sides. The second point was a federal framework, in which how we would practice future democracy and future federal Union by 2020. The third point was how much we could set up democracy and basic federal principles in the peace conference by 2020. We also exchanged views on the working process for beyond 2020. The discussions included the government’s expectations, views on federal system and political agreements. There are 51 basic federal principles in part 1 and 2 of the Union Accord. These principles will be combined with the upcoming basic federal principles resulting from the next conference to design a federal model. We proposed this plan in part 2. In part 3 for beyond 2020, we have proposed a blueprint how to make implementation. In the upcoming Union Peace Conference, part 3 proposed by the government will cover all the points. The NLD government has held political dialogues and three events of Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong. We have adopted the 51 basic principles for political agreement. We prepared a concrete form from these principles for 2020. All these political agreements during the five-year term of this administration will be included in part 3 of the Union Accord. It will mention the processes for the period beyond 2020. Then, the Union Accord 3 with the inclusions of federal views and federal principles agreed by the leaders was proposed.
The government has proposed four working plans to adopt part 3 of the Union Accord. We discussed these four plans with KNU. And this issue was discussed with the 10 members of EAO today. We could make common agreements. We suggested a timeline to the EAO representatives to implement these agreements through the NCA. These representatives will proceed with these agreements.”
Nai Aung Ma Ngay, representative of NCA-S EAO, said, “We will report the government’s suggestions to our organization. We will also present our suggestions to the government representatives. We have found many common facts. I believe we would be able to build trust during the discussions at the fourth year anniversary of NCA. We are willing to hold the Union Peace Conference in early 2020. It will also depend on our proposals. If we could make a bilateral agreement, we could hold the UPC at that time.”— Ye Gaung Nyunt (Translated by Zaw Min/Aung Khin)