Dialogue framework draft faces four hurdles

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The second stage in Burma’s seven-step peace process is facing four issues which will be discussed and decided next week, according to Union Peace and Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) sources in Rangoon.

These issues are, as follows:

  • The composition and criteria for participation in the dialogue
  • The decision-making formula
  • Amendments to the framework
  • Whether to have a joint working team or separate working teams
Drafters discuss the political framework on December 2. (Photo: Myanmar Peace Center)
Drafters discuss the political framework on December 2. (Photo: Myanmar Peace Center)

The government’s proposal is that the planned Union Peace Conference has six groups of participants: government, parliament, military, ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), registered political parties, other national ethnic groups, and other relevant representatives.

The political parties’ component of the UPDJC has suggested a counter proposal that the conference be made up of three groups: the government, parliament and military as one, and political parties and EAOs as the two others.

Regarding composition, the EAOs that co-signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on 15 October meanwhile have called for strict observation of the NCA’s paragraph 22 (a), which states that the participants should include:

  • Representatives from the government, Hluttaws (Legislatures) and the Tatmadaw (military)
  • Representatives from the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs)
  • Representatives from registered political parties
  • Ethnic representatives, and
  • Other relevant representatives

The draft is to be discussed and finalized on 14-15 December by the UPDJC. The Joint implementation Coordination Meeting, the highest organ in the setup, will then be held to approve the draft.

The latest blueprint came out of the nine-day marathon meeting of the drafters in Rangoon, from November 27 until December 5. It has 10 headings: Preamble, Objectives, Basic Principles, Agenda and Issues, Composition, Decision Making, Management, Sequencing of Agenda and Process, Ratification of Union Accord, and General.

“The Framework for Political Dialogue (FPD),” said Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong on 27 November, “must include the following points: What we are going to discuss, when we are going to discuss them, who the participants are, how we are going to make decisions and how we are going to implement them.”

The expected all-inclusive political dialogue is scheduled to begin not later than 13 January, in order to meet the 90-day deadline set by the NCA.

By SAI KHUENSAI / Director of Pyidaungsu Institute and Founder of Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)

All views expressed are the author’s own.

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