For the government, the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) before the November elections is a mission that must be completed regardless of the number of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) involved, said government chief negotiator U Aung Min, during the 6th forum on the framework for political dialogue (FPD) which was held on 14 September, In Rangoon.
“For us, it is a ‘do or die’ mission,” he said.
Dr Min Zaw Oo, from the government technical team Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), seconded him by saying, “Ta-tet-sa-le-kyetthun, Hna-tet-sa-le-kyetthun (Eat one section, it’s garlic; eat two sections, it’s still garlic — old Burmese saying). It doesn’t matter how many EAOs are signing. It is NCA. There’ll be an open book for those who are yet to sign.”
It was a day after U Aung Min and U Thein Zaw, his co-chairman of the Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), returned from a two-day visit to Shan State East capital Kengtung, where they met the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) representatives.
The UWSA, 5 days earlier, had issued a statement that since it would mean a breach of promise made to the Yunnan government not to allow the western nations to be involved in conflicts along the Sino-Bumese border, it could not be expected to be a co-signatory of the NCA.
(China, on 21 May 2014, had called for a “New Asian Security Concept” which would exclude anyone from outside of Asia from playing a role in Asian security.)
Other major EAOs that are yet to state whether or not they would sign include Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), among others.
The NCA is expected to be signed during the first half of October. The EAOs are planning to hold another “summit”, 28 – 30 September, in Chiangmai in order to reach a decision on the matter.