The New Mon State Party (NMSP), is holding a biannual meeting of its Central Committee this week, as leadership considers important decisions before upcoming peace negotiations. The party, one of several armed ethnic groups in Burma, kicked off the week-long meeting at its Headquarters on the eastern bank of the Ye River on April 23.The NMSP’s Central Committee has 33 regular members and four substitutes, who were called upon for this meeting to fill in for four absences.
“The political situation that we now find ourselves in is very complicated. The Northern Alliance has certain positions, the UNFC [United Nationalities Federal Council] has certain positions and the Government has its own positions. So it is very hard to negotiate and create agreements with so many active parties,” NMSP Chairman Nai Htaw Mon said at the meeting, referring to two coalitions of armed groups.
The aim of this week’s meeting, he said, was to parse the political situation and determine what position NMSP will take regarding negotiations. NMSP, as with many armed groups, already has a unilateral cease-fire with the central government. But the government has made participation in the upcoming second round of national peace talks contingent on groups signing a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
The NMSP’s Central Committee will vote at this week’s meeting on whether it will join the NCA. It will also discuss efforts to unify the two Mon ethnic parties — All Mon Regions Democracy Party and Mon National Party — and the current political climate in the state.