Government negotiator lobbies New Mon State Party to sign ceasefire agreement

October 1, 2015

U Aung Min, vice-chairman of the Union Peace-making Working Committee (UPWC) and key peace negotiator for the Burmese government, visited senior New Mon State Party (NMSP) officials last weekend, in a last minute bid to convince the Mon armed group to sign the imminent Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

U  Aung Min, accompanied by representatives from the Myanmar Peace Center, met with the NMSP’s Central Executive Committee at a monastery in Thanbyuzayat, Mon State, on Sunday September 27. Participants at the talks included NMSP Chairman Nai Htaw Mon and numerous prominent monks.

Reportedly, the talks took place due to widespread knowledge of the NMSP’s reluctance to sign the NCA. Nai Aung Htoo, member of a ceasefire watch CBO, explained, “[U Aung Min] heard that the NMSP is not going to sign the NCA. If the NMSP does not sign, then they will be the only group left in the south of the country [who haven’t signed] […] The NMSP does not trust the government”.

According to Nai Aung Htoo, there may be implications for Mon villagers’ voting rights if the NMSP decides not to sign the NCA. He continued, “If the NMSP doesn’t sign the agreement, some areas controlled by the NMSP will not be eligible to vote [in the upcoming election]”.

However, Nai Banyar Lae, a NMSP official who attended the talks with U Aung Min, played down the significance of the NMSP’s decision. He explained, “Even if the NMSP doesn’t sign on October 10, the government will still open the door for the NMSP to decide to sign at a later date […] Even if the NMSP will not sign, the relationship between the NMSP and the government will remain the same”.

A committee of ethnic armed groups is set to meet on October 3, with the goal of signing the NCA on October 10. So far eight armed groups have promised to sign their agreement: the Karen National Union (KNU); Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council (KNLA-PC); Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS); Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO); Arakan Liberation Party (ALP); Chin National Front (CNF); and the All Burma Students Democratic Force (ABSDF).

 

 

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