Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Naypyitaw urges Wa to sign NCA

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Government negotiator U Aung Min recently exhorted representatives from the United Wa State Party/Army (UWSP/UWSA) at a meeting held in Rangoon to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) draft that was finalized at the 9th meeting with the ethnic armed organizations’ Senior Delegation (SD) on 6-7 August, according to government sources.

U Aung Myint (Photo: Irrawaddy)
U Aung Myint
(Photo: Irrawaddy)

The meeting between U Aung Min and the Wa delegation led by U Aung Myint aka Li Zhulie took place in the morning after the negotiations with the SD concluded.

U Aung Min reiterated the 4 guarantees that came with the NCA:

  • The right to bear arms throughout the peace negotiations
  • The right to participate in the political dialogue
  • Immunity from the notorious Unlawful Associations Act, better known as Section 17/1
  • Federal democracy

The UWSP/UWSA has so far maintained that it would not sign the NCA but would participate in the political dialogue. Since 1989 it has been at truce with the Burmese government.

Also according to Amsterdam based Transnational Institute (TNI), the Wa leaders are unhappy about the draft negotiated by the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), the SD’s forerunner. It quoted Shan leader Lt-Gen Hso Ten saying: “The Wa are not satisfied with the NCCT, and think its approach is too soft, and feel it is appeasing too much. The Wa said ‘appeasement is defeatism’, and they want to unite all the armed groups and make them stronger than the NCCT.”

It is not clear whether it is pleased with the latest draft.

The Wa , since 1993, has also been calling for a separate statehood which should include the same areas as outlined in the 2008 constitution as well as the adjacent Mongpawk and Mongphen, which are currently incorporated in Mongyang township.

“If you don’t sign it,” U Aung Min was reported as saying,” there may arise two thorny problems to address:

  • One is the Unlawful Association Act under which the UWSP/UWSA may become a liability
  • And two, you may be allowed to attend political dialogues, but only as observers, not as participants.”

U Aung Myint said he didn’t have answers for them but would report back to his superiors and left, according to the sources.

The UWSP/UWSA is one of the 15 armed organizations that have signed bilateral agreements with Naypyitaw. According to unconfirmed reports, President Thein Sein recently sent out invitations to all the 15 groups to sign the NCA. No date was proposed, but sources say the government would wish to do it well before the elections in November.

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