An ethnic armed group has set a three-month clock on deciding whether or not to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement, according to an official.
The New Mon State Party, which currently heads the ethnic umbrella organization the United Nationalities Federal Council, indicated to the Mon State government that they will be signing the pact shortly.
“We’ve always said that we’d sign the NCA,” Nai Win Hla, head of the NMSP’s Home Affairs Department, told the press after an August 23 meeting with the state government, according to the Irrawaddy.A NMSP delegation led by joint secretary Major General Joi Yaet discussed the peace process with the Mon State chief minister at the state government offices in Mawlamyine on August 23.
“They [the NMSP] requested [us] to give them three months [to decide on] signing the NCA. They are following the NCA path. Also, they are the chair of the UNFC so they are trying to persuade other members. They said they will give their answer after three months regardless of how other members decide on this issue,” said Chief Minister U Aye Zan.
In addition to discussing the NCA, the delegation also broached the topics of politics, the teaching on Mon literature, the MCL cement factory and issues relating to regional development.
The NMSP has said in May that it would negotiate over signing the NCA, along with the other members of the UNFC, which have dwindled to four after the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army – North submitted a resignation later earlier this month, becoming the third ethnic armed organization to leave the bloc amid increasing pressure to ink the ceasefire. The UNFC now includes the NMSP, the Arakan National Council (ANC), the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP).
The NMSP signed an initial ceasefire agreement with the military government in 1995 but the agreement became null in 2010. The party then signed the second ceasefire agreement with the former U Thein Sein administration in February, 2012.