Sources recently returning from Naypyitaw say generals who have been participating in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) negotiations with the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) would like it to be signed before 8 August.
8 August is the deadline for the application for candidacy in the November elections. Many to-be-retired generals, especially those in the Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), are reportedly planning to contest the elections.
Sources have requested anonymity.
“The army thinks the signing should be done even if all are not ready to sign,” recounted one. “Those that have signed bilateral agreements but not ready to sign the NCA will be asked to observe the bilateral ceasefire. Those that have yet to sign bilateral agreements will be invited to sign them. As for those that have no organized armed forces, we may have to find a way for them, perhaps as members of the NCCT (EAOs’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team that had, together with the UPWC, co-drafted the NCA).”
However, “It would be best if all EAOs that have concluded bilateral ceasefires, including the United Wa State Army (UWSA) sign the NCA,” a general was quoted as saying.
Naypyitaw’s present policy is to sign the NCA with 15 EAOs. Three others: Arakan National Council (ANC), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and Wa National Organization (WNO) have no organized armed forces. The remaining three: Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have yet to sign any bilateral agreement with Naypyitaw.