The sixth informal meeting participated by more than 50 representatives from government, parties, armed resistance movements and CSOs last Monday, 14 September, has confirmed that the country’s leading stakeholders face 3 critical issues that they must overcome in order to reach agreement on the framework for political dialogue (FPD).
Agreement on the FPD is the second step in the 7 September peace roadmap drafted by the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs)’ Special Delegation-Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (SD-NCCT) on 7 August. According to the draft Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) accepted by both sides, the FPD agreement must be reached within 30 days after the NCA signing.
The NCA signing is being planned for the first week of October.
The informal meeting which began in May so far has found few problems on other key issues, which include: aims and objectives, principles, agenda, structures, sequencing of agenda and people’s participation, among others.
The said crucial issues that remain unresolved are:
- Composition: how many participants from each grouping i.e. government, parliament, armed forces, EAOs and political parties
- Decision-making: vote-taking or consensus
- How to get the political parties grouping on an equal footing with the government-parliament-armed forces grouping and EAOs grouping that had drafted the NCA
- The general view of the political parties’ representatives, which include the National League for Democracy (NLD), Federal Democratic Alliance (FDA), Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF) and United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) is that the NCA has placed them in a subordinate status.
“A dignified and equal footing by the political parties needs to be guaranteed,” said a representative from the NBF. Another political party representative suggested a drafting of FPD independent from the NCA. The meeting’s response was a meaningful silence. One participant told SHAN afterward, “To say ‘No’ would be thoughtless. But to say ‘Yes’ would amount to the rejection of the NCA draft that took almost 2 years to finish.”
“After all is said and done, the final decision rests on the FPD (formal) conference to be held by the three parties (government-parliament-armed forces, EAOs and political parties),” concluded a representative from the technical support team.
Another informal meeting is expected to be held, also in Rangoon, before the NCA signing.