The Mon State chief minister and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) informally discussed the government’s hallmark peace deal at a meeting earlier this week as pressure escalates on ethnic armed groups to fall into line and sign the accord, according to a NMSP representative.
Chief minister U Aye Zan met with NMSP vice chair Nai Hong Sar at the Ko Yin Lay Temple in Ye Township, Mon State on November 28, said Nai Shwe Thein, a central committee member of the NMSP.
“He explained what will happen if we sign the agreement. We responded by explaining the points set down by the central committee meeting. It was just an informal talk,” said Nai Shwe Thein.
The NMSP currently chairs the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an ethnic bloc that is engaged in negotiations with the government over signing the NCA. The government and UNFC negotiators have agreed on seven among eight stipulations laid out by the bloc as preconditions before it will ink the contentious ceasefire deal.
The remaining sticking point is no small matter however as it involves building a federal democratic Union that fully guarantees the rights of democracy, national equality, and self-determination in accordance with the Panglong Spirit.
Nai Shwe Thein said the NMSP’s central committee met from November 24 to 28 to discuss the remaining point and will submit its decision to the other UNFC members for their approval.
“As we are part of an alliance, we have to submit [our conclusion] to the rest of the groups and discuss with them. It will go well if they agree. If not, we have to reconsider,” said a central committee member of the NMSP who did not want to be named.
The UNFC currently consists of the NMSP, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Arakan National Council (ANC) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU).
They have been negotiating with the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government for nearly one and a half years.
The Mon News Agency was unable to reach Mon State Chief Minister Aye Zan to inquire about his meeting with the NMSP.