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UNFC continues tripartite talks policy to secure NCA

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The United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC) continues to stick to with the policy for tripartite talks in order to ink a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), according to UNFC vice-chairman Nai Hongsar.

The UNFC vice chairperson stated the above on the last day [September 3] of the Union Peace Conference – the 21st Century Panglong when he met with the media.

The tripartite talks will require three groups. One group must be the government, the Hluttaw, and the Tatmadaw; group two must represent the ethnic armed groups and the third group must be from the political parties.

“This involves the government’s group and experts, women’s groups, educational, cultural and business-centred groups and other respective areas. Additionally, it is necessary to not just have us involved but also involve other respective people connected to us,” said Nai Hongsar, referring to the groups that would need to be involved in the tripartite talks.

Representatives attending Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong
Representatives attending Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong

A step-by-step framework of the political talks should be developed by all those involved. Ultimately, constructing a suitable, representative proportion of government, Hluttaw, Tatmadaw, ethnic armed groups, political parties, ethnic groups’ representatives and civil society organizations, business groups, experts and others involved in the tripartite talks, according to paragraph 22nd of the NCA text.

On March 31, 2015, the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), comprised of 16 ethnic armed groups, and the government’s Union Peace-making Working Committee (UPWC) signed the NCA draft.

However, the government did not accept it after the ethnic armed leaders reviewed the draft and requested the UPWC make changes to it, according to Nai Hongsar, who is also vice-chairman of New Mon State Party (NMSP).

Although eight ethnic armed groups signed the NCA in October, last year, UNFC members did not sign it.

The UNFC is comprised of the New Mon State Party, Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Shan State Progress Party, Arakan National Council, Karenni National Progressive Party, Lahu Democratic Union and Wa National Organization.

The State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Tatmadaw Defense Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing emphasized, in their opening speeches at the Union Peace Conference, on the importance of signing the NCA.

The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) is not only required for the peace process but it is the first step for the establishment of a democratic federal union, according to the speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“There are ethnic armed groups that signed the NCA. However, there are ethnic armed groups that did not sign the NCA due to many reasons. Since it is based on the NCA, we will continue political talks, during our government’s term, and work towards having non-NCA signatories sign the NCA,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

At the 4-day conference, ethnic groups highlighted the 2008 constitution and requested that it be amended. The Tatmadaw representatives responded that if the constitution must be amended, it should be amended in accordance with the law mentioned within the constitution.

About 72 organizations presented their points of views at the conference, and the representatives’ presentations, as well as UN representatives, were recorded for all intents and purposes.

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