“In fact, it is not that we do not want to sign a ceasefire. In the past, we experienced that after signing a ceasefire agreement, the agreement was just in name. We do not want to do that [again] if it is not certain,” Nai Hongsar stated at the Civil Societies’ Forum for Peace, held yesterday at the Shwe Myint Moe Htun Hotel in the Moulmein capital of Mon State.
On January 27th, nearly 500 protesters joined together to call for a nationwide ceasefire to be signed immediately, in order to bring democracy and peace to Burma.
“We want to have the peace process implemented immediately. The only way to do business in peace from one place in the country to another is if there is peace [in the country],” said U Min Tun Taung, who submitted for permission to protest in Kamarwet Town.
However, Nai Hongsar maintains that although the government has offered to hold a 7th round of peace talks, these talks will only be held if the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) side agrees to the appropriate points to discuss.
“Now, we [the NCCT] are working on getting along well with the government. Talks can be resumed if the Tatmadaw side has appropriate points to discuss with [us]. We will not sign a ceasefire agreement if we do not reach any agreement on the points discussed during the talk,” said Nai Hongsar, who also sits as vice-chairman of the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
According to Nai Banyar Chan, chairman of the Mon National Party (MNP) Kamarwet Town office, in holding a protest such as the one in Kamarwet, while the ethnic armed groups and government have yet to reach an agreement and the NMSP is engaged in ceasefire talks with the government, it is as if Mon people are pressuring the NMSP to sign a ceasefire.
“The people [who] participated in the protest are not the ones who understand the peace talk process,” said Nai Banyar Chan, “The people staged the protest without understanding that the group which Nai Hongsar leads is having talks with the government, wherein [discussions are being held regarding] the difficulties ethnic armed groups face, and how the government did not agree with the points that the ethnic armed groups demanded.”
The Union Peace-Making Working Committee (UPWC) and the NCCT held 6th round peace talks in September 2014. The Myanmar Peace Center is currently negotiating for both sides to hold a 7th round of talks.