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Mon party proposes staging a national-level political dialogue

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A Mon political party has proposed flouting official procedures in order to stage a public dialogue that would gauge opinions on the peace process. Representatives of the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMDP) met with the Mon National Party (MNP) this week to discuss the idea.

Officially, Mon State cannot hold a national-level political dialogue since the New Mon State Party (NMSP) has not yet signed on to the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). The government and the Tatmadaw have made inking the NCA a key stipulation before either ethnic armed groups or the peoples they represent can join in the official peace mechanisms. But the AMDP says public engagement should not be limited by the signatory status of ethnic armed groups.

“Whether or not the New Mon State Party signs the nationwide ceasefire agreement is a separate issue [from the dialogues],” said Nai Maung Maung, who led the AMDP delegation on December 5.

The national-level dialogues aim to collect public opinions and aspirations for the future federal Union. These ideas in turn are supposed to provide food for debate at the Union-level peace conferences.

The MNP leaders said they would take the AMDP’s idea back to the party’s central committee at a December 9 meeting.

“We will decide then on the AMDP’s proposal to hold the ethnic-based national-level political dialogue,” said Nai Layih Tamarh, general secretary of the MNP.

But government peace negotiators said that if the Mon politicians try to circumvent the official channels, then they will not be permitted to use the official terminology.

“The NMSP has to sign the NCA, otherwise, they cannot use the name ‘nation-level’,” said Min Zayar Oo from the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC)’s secretarial group.

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