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Obstacles remain for nationwide ceasefire

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Nai Hong Sar seen at a recent public meeting in Pa-nga village, Mon state.
Nai Hong Sar seen at a recent public meeting in Pa-nga village, Mon state.
Min Thu Ta – There are several hurdles to overcome before a nationwide ceasefire can be achieved, said Nai Hong Sar, who serves as the vice-chairman of New Mon State Party and leader of the newly formed Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT).

“We ethnic armed groups have already officially submitted our stand for a nationwide ceasefire to the government. But there are some points that the government does not accept and we need more time for another talk,” said the Mon leader at a recent public meeting in Pa-nga village, Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon state.

The ethnic armed groups have “duties to protect” their “motherland” and there is a real need for the creation of an inclusive “federal union army”, Nai Hong Sar said.

This federal army would allow for the decentralization of the Tatmadaw (Burma military). Soldiers for some battalions would be recruited from the dominant resident ethnic group.

The government hasn’t officially indicated its position on this. But the country’s commander in chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing claimed the army is already a federal union army; its ranks include the ethnic minorities.

“The union army is formed from union born ethnic groups. And it needs to have union spirits to take responsibility of protecting the nation and to follow the rules stated by the army with great respect,” Min Aung Hlaing was reported as saying by various media.

The government hopes when the Union Peace-making Work Committee and NCCT meet in Rangoon in the first week of March a nationwide ceasefire will be inked.

The NCCT formed after 17 ethnic armed groups met for a historic peace conference in the Kachin Independence Organization Laiza headquarters late last year. Early this year, a follow up conference took place in Karen National Union Law Khee Lah headquarters to establish a framework for a nationwide ceasefire

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