At an undisclosed location on the Thai-Burmese border on November 19, a Saturday, U Aung Min, minister of railway transport and special representative of President Thein Sein, met delegations from Shan, Karen, Karenni, Chin and Kachin armed movements for ceasefire agreement.
Three of the groups, namely the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Karen National Union (KNU) and Chin National Front (CNF) agreed to sign the ceasefire agreement with respective state governments while the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) agreed to hold further peace talks first before signing the ceasefire treaty.
The New Mon State Party (NMSP) was the only major ethnic armed group that stayed away from “the good will meeting” because it had unsuccessfully insisted on U Aung Min meeting the negotiating committee formed by the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) to which CNF, KNPP AND KIO are members.
The November 19 meeting followed Asean’s approval of Burma to assume the chair in 2014 and Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to re-register her National League for Democracy (NLD) and contest the upcoming elections.
Heading the delegations were: Sao Yawdserk for RCSS, David Taw for KNU, Bee Htoo for KNPP, Zin Cung for CNF and N Ban La for KIO.
Both parties agreed for a ceasefire but to officially sign the agreement with further discussions on a later date.
With regards the role of ethnic politics in the country, U Aung Min said that after the ethnic armed groups reach a ceasefire agreement with the government, a Naypyitaw Conference (similar to that of Panglong) will be called and held before the members of parliament. Every party concerned will be invited to the discussions towards political solutions.
Yawdserk told U Aung Min that the ethnic people have been living in the dark for more than 50 years and it is good that the sun has come up giving a lot of hope. However, if inequality and discrimination cannot be discontinued, another eclipse is bound to come. The foregoing news is sourced from SHAN and Tai Freedom.