The eight ethnic armed groups that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the Thein Sein Government have founded the Ethnic Armed Organization Peace Process Steering Team (EAO PPST) in order to engage in the peace process with the upcoming government.
The NCA signatories held a summit from March 24 to 26 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, wherein they established the EAO PPST, according to its released statement on March 26.The armed groups that inked the NCA with the outgoing government were Karen National Union (KNU), Chin National Front (CNF), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council (KNLA-PC), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), Pa Oh National Liberation Organization, Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), and All Burma’s Students Democratic Front (ABSDF).
“We created the EAO PPST to provide leadership when we meet with non-signatory groups as well as the new government. Another reason is to be able to provide direction when making urgent decisions. This team will direct projects for the JMC (Joint Monitoring Committee) and the UPDJC (Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee) more effectively.” Colonel Khun Okkar, PNLO’s Chairman.
The KNU’s Chairman Gen. Mutu Say Poe will act as EAO PPST leader. Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, the RCSS’s chairman, will serve as deputy leader, while other leaders of the NCA-signatory groups will serve as members.
According to the leaders of the eight NCA-signatories, the group will keep its promise to work toward achieving all ethnic groups’ political objectives, as well as the implementation of discourse with the new government and the Tatmadaw [Burmese army].
The guidelines that the eight NCA-signatory groups released include;
1. Convening of NCA signatory EAOs, together with observers and technical advisors, totaling 79 persons;
2. Reassessment of NCA implementation since the signing;
3. Welcome the new government for its peace commitment and the EAOs readiness to cooperate:
4. The necessity for all EAOs to participate and be represented in the forthcoming 2nd Union Peace Conference;
5. Deeply believe in the need for all EAOs’ enthusiastic participation until agreement to form federal union is achieved through political negotiations;
6. The formation of EAO Peace Process Steering Team (EAO PPST); and
7. Pledge to adhere to the NCA and cooperate with the new regime and the Tatmadaw (Military) to implement the agreement.