Some peace meetings including the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) of ten ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), which are the signatories of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), have reportedly been suspended.
Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) CEC member Saw Mra Yarzar Lin said that the PPST meeting of these signatories of NCA was first scheduled to be held from 5-7 November in Chiang Mai, Thailand but the main participants of the PPST from Karen National Union could not attend this meeting and therefore it was necessary to wait the some more days.
“Yes, the meeting cannot be held yet. The main reason is the KNU is having their own meetings. They might inform us only after the conclusion of their meetings. So we wait until the time these main partner organizations can come and attend our PPST meeting,” she said.
Similarly the EAO conference was previously scheduled to be held in mid-November but they reportedly could not fix the conference date yet as some of them are preoccupied with other work.
Signatories of the NCA first scheduled to hold this EAO Conference in mid-November but non-signatory EAOs proposed to postpone it to late November.
Saw Mra Yarzar Lin said, “We fixed the conference date in November but it is difficult to hold it on that date as we cannot yet hold even our own PPST meeting. So we have to postpone all those meetings.”
The KNU sent a letter to the Chairperson of National Reconciliation and Peace Commission (NRPC) informing they were suspending all ongoing peace meetings at the moment as they have to discuss the issues discussed at the Peace Summit regarding right to self-determination and non-secession from the Union, a single army, and the planned conclusion of the ongoing peace dialogues by 2020, with their central committee members.
Similarly another NCA signatory, Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), issued a statement on November 1 which says they will talk again in their party regarding when they will attend the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) meetings.
Peace analyst Maung Maung Soe commented on the suspension and postponing of these peace meetings, noting: “This is the burst out of a stalled and deadlocked peace process which have been experienced since one year ago. We can say this is illustrating problems which need to be resolved. And on the other hand these issues and problems need to be tackled in a delicate and flexible manner. We must say fresh conflicts will break out unless we can resolve these issues and then the peace process will be backtracked.”
Karen National Union (KNU), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLO), Chin National Front (CNF), All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Democratic Karen Benevolence Army (DKBA) and Karen Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC) signed the NCA in 2015 when the President Thein Sein’s government was in power. Then two more EAOs namely the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) signed NCA in February 2018.