Government peace negotiators and representatives for ethnic armed groups will hold their seventh official meeting in Yangon on October 23, according to a spokesperson.
The two sides are expected to continue hammering out the details over eight pre-conditions leading up to signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).Four of the eight points still need negotiating, said Nai Aung Ma Nge, spokesperson for the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an umbrella group. The points cover the framework for political sector, strengthening the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring (JMC) mechanism in the military sector, and including international representatives.
“Since we have already submitted the agreements from the sixth meeting to the leaders of respective organizations, we don’t want to discuss [the first four points] again. We only plan to discuss the remaining points in order to reach an agreement quickly,” said Nai Aung Ma Nge.
After the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government came into power, the Peace Commission and the UNFC have been negotiating for 16 months.
Nai Aung Ma Nge urged the government, the Hluttaw, and the Tatmadaw to quickly reach an agreement on the remaining points without a hitch.
The four points that were agreed on in the sixth meeting are to declare a nationwide ceasefire, establish a federal Union, ensure political dialogues are tripartite and to draft and promulgate the constitution based on the outcome of the 21st Century Panglong Conference.
“The basic of the eight-point [proposal] is that they will follow the NCA path. The government accepts all organizations that follow the NCA path,” said U Aung Soe from the Peace Commission.
The sixteen-month discussions have also been marred by continued fighting, and renewed military activities, including in areas controlled by the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
Negotiations have also been affected by several key groups deciding to leave the UNFC. The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), and the Wa National Organization (WNO) all resigned from the UNFC and joined a new bloc – the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), which is led by the United Wa State Army, and has rejected the NCA.