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All ethnic armed groups must be able to join political dialogues: NMSP

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In a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the Mon revolution, the New Mon State Party said on August 7 that peace cannot be achieved until negotiations include all ethnic armed organizations.

Currently, the ethnic armed groups can only join the political dialogue after signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), a pact which includes just eight signatories.

Soldiers from the New Mon State Party marched in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Mon Revolution Day on August 7. (Photo – Facebook)

The NMSP said that the government and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of non-signatories, need to find a way to bring all groups into conversation, whether through convincing all groups to sign the NCA, or through forging another path.

The NMSP has indicated its own willingness to sign the NCA, contingent on two preconditions.

“The NCA will be signed when we agree on two points. The first point is the inclusion of international [observers] in the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC). The second point is related to military issues,” said Nai Aung Ma Nge, a member of the NMSP and the deputy leader of the UNFC’s Delegation for Political Negotiation.

The government’s Peace Commission and the DPN will meet for the sixth time in Yangon on August 10. Representatives of the UNFC member organizations – the NMSP, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), the Arakan National Council (ANC) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) – are expected to attend the meeting.

The NMSP commemorated the 70th anniversary of Mon Revolution Day with military parades in five areas under its control. Around 700 Mon youth marched with a band and placed wreaths on the tombs of Mon national leaders.

Ahead of the ceremony, the Tatmadaw had reportedly attempted to pressure the NMSP not to hold military parades outside the party’s headquarters. Nai Aung Ma Nge said such requests can fuel mistrust.

The Mon Revolution Day commemorates a revolt against the government on the full moon day of Wagaung in 1948. About 30 Mon leaders stole guns from a Yangon police stations and formed a resistance movement to fight for the right to self-determination.

The NMSP signed a ceasefire agreement with former President U Thein Sein’s government in 2012. It has not signed the NCA.

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