For the first time since last September, the talks between the rebels’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) and the government’s technical team, Myanmar Peace Center (MPC,) concluded yesterday, with the two sides departed in a much congenial atmosphere, according to sources from both sides.
“That was due to the fact that the NCCT has replaced idealist notions with realistic ones,” one of the leading MPC members said. “In the past, we had to debate on every point. This time? None.”
An NCCT member, while agreeing that the meeting went smooth, gave the following reason: “This time, they (the MPC) accepted every point that we proposed without arguments.”
The details are not available but it is understood that the two sides will meet formally in Rangoon around mid-March.
Several informal meetings had taken place between the two sides since the deadlock in September. The 4th draft that resulted then was ‘not acceptable,’ according to several rebel sources including those from non-NCCT groups.
Three more incidents that followed had merely added to the increasing tensions: 19 November shelling near Laiza that killed 23 rebel cadets, 20 January rape-murder of two young Kachin teachers and most recently, the battle that has raged in Kokang since 9 February.