The ethnic-based political talks will not be held in Mon State because the Mon ethnic armed group, New Mon State Party (NMSP), has not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the government.
The national-level political talks is broken down into 3 groups; ethnic-based political talks, region-based political talks, and topic-based political talks.
“Most of the UPDJC [Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee] members have proposed to hold the talks in areas that are prepared. However, those areas must be the ones where the commanding armed groups signed the NCA. Therefore, Mon State will not be able to hold the ethnic-based talks,” said Min Kyaw Zeya Oo, member of the UPDJC and the Mon National Party (MNP).The ethnic-based political talks will be conducted by political parties and NCA-signatory ethnic armed groups, region-based talks will be held by the state or regional government, and topic-based talks will be held by civil society organizations, according to UPDJC’s project directory.
“Our Mon people can participate in the region-based talks, but in Tenasserism Division the Tenasserism Division government will lead the talks. The Mon people can discuss further based on the topics given,” said Min Kyaw Zeya Oo.
Min Kyaw Zeya Oo continued that the Tatmadaw [Burma army] proposed the ethnic based political talks will be held in Karen State, the region-based talks will be held in Tenasserim Division, and the topic-based talks will be held in Nay Pyi Taw.
“The government does not agree in allowing the non-NCA signatories to hold national-level political talks. What I want to suggest is for NCA-signatory groups and UNFC members continue anyway and try to reach agreements with the government. As a result, there won’t be the question on whether this area or that area can exclusively hold the talks,” said Sai Kyaw Nyunt, UPDJC’s secretary member.
The NMSP, which is a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) and the Mon people’s major armed group, signed state level and Union level ceasefire agreements with the government in 2012, but it hasn’t yet signed the NCA.