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“A Lot of Work Remains to Achieve the Goal” said Patron Colonel Khun Okka (PNLO)

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The Mon News Agency interviewed Colonel Khun Okka, Patron of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), a stakeholder in  the Myanmar peace process.  The PNLO is being approached by proponents of the National Ceasefire Agreement.   The following is a condensed version of the interview that took place today. 

Question: I would like to know about the State Administration Council’s letter requesting an informal meeting with the PPST.

Answer: The letter was dated the 6th. It was delivered during our Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) meeting. But they first gave it to a three-member steering committee. When they gave it to us, that meeting was chaired by the three-member committee. I wrote the original letter and gave it to Colonel Sai Ngin of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS). Colonel Sai Ngin who gave it to Nai Aung Min of the New Mon State Party (NMSP). Naing Aung Min said he would wait and see. It’s good for us to be invited to meet first. We will arrange a response. I would like to thank them for this invitation. 

Question: If you met, how would you meet?

Answer: We do not plan to meet them yet. Informal discussions are uncertain. There are other ways to inform a meeting for example using zoom meetings. There are a lot of themes that have to be created and a lot of pre-conditions have to be created. A letter is the beginning of a process. We would like to thank them for inviting me politically. We will make a plan. I think we will get a discussion theme. 

Question: General Zaw Min Tun will start a new peace process step this year and he said he would work for an end to the conflict and take steps towards peace. Is that why?

Answer: That’s their goal. There is still a lot of work to be done to achieve that goal.

Question: They said they would continue to hold formal talks and conferences under the NCA. Can there be peace conferences this year?

Answer: This will not be possible without a reduction in violence. And we have a Civilians Protection agenda within the NCA. Protecting civilians is not easy to do without compliance. They must have the ability  to protect civilians. We must be able to stop the violence. It must reduce the number of people on both sides impacted by the violence. 

Question: What would you like to add about the meeting?

Answer: There is a principle that must be discussed. But under what circumstances will it be discussed. In the midst of these bombs, gunfire, killings, and atrocities, it is not easy to have a  meeting. Therefore, the basis for this discussion needs to change. There will be some stability and also we can only discuss if you are comfortable with something. It is not easy during this political and social crisis But we are looking for ways to find a solution.

Question: Thank you, Colonel.

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