Commentary on “Fighting rages as representatives meet for peace talks in Muse”

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Sai Wansai
Sai Wansai

It is unimaginable to witness that this Tatmadaw’s “carrots and sticks” or “water in one hand and fire in the other” tactics isn’t doing any good to the peace process.

While the Tatmadaw’s spokesman Zaw Min Tun took pains to explain to the media that the clashes and offensives in northern Shan state against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is due to its operation outside its designated areas, which he said were clearly demarcated and understood between both parties, the KIA side has yet to say something on his statement.

Either way, the real point here is the intolerance of the Tatmadaw, especially in trying to nurture the right peaceful atmosphere to conduct peace process. And it is quite impossible to be taking a multiple role of rule of law enforcer, judge and at the same time a participant in the peace process as a negotiator. The nature of peace negotiation process demands that all negotiators have to be equal if it is to be successful. In other words, a level playing-field is a necessity.

And the same goes for the National League for Democracy-led government, which now goes about with the peace process procedure as its own and not originally started out as a co-owned process between the government and the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). No wonder that the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Karen National Union (KNU) suspended their official participation which they feel is being hijacked by the civilian-military government. To date, only informal line of negotiation between the two EAOs and the government is open, which initially means the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)-based peace process is almost dead since last November.

Besides, the EAOs that the government is wooing to come into the NCA-based peace process have openly said that the NCA has to be amended and discussed comprehensively before they could sign it and of course, the bilateral ceasefire has also to be in place first and acceptance of all-inclusiveness for all EAOs as a precondition.

The Tatmadaw recently has shown the same intolerance in media field, bluntly saying that Tatmadaw’s tolerance is wearing thin and actually suing and jailing everybody that it considered to be bad-mouthing against it and doesn’t see it as rooms needed for improvement to become part of the democratic institution. This in effect has castigated the media landscape and in turn hindering the democratization process seriously.

And if it will be going about with the realpolitik in such an intolerance attitude, what the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) is writing with hand will be rubbed out by the Tatmadaw’s foot, which is recently the case in point. Thus, if this situation continues, we could conduct hundreds of meeting but won’t be seeing peace and political settlement any time soon in the country.

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