Part III of the Union Accord was signed by participants in the Union Peace Conference (UPC) after three days of meetings ending on August 21.
The fourth session of the UPC took place in Naypyidaw and was attended by representatives of the government, military, Parliament, political parties, and ethnic armed organizations signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), who signed the accord.
Included in the final agreement were pledges regarding the NCA implementation, project implementation after 2020, and basic principles regarding democratic federal Union-building.
“We came to some agreements in this conference. Therefore, it has opened a path for building a federal union,” Sai Leng, a UPC attendee who is working with the Restoration Council of Shan State’s peace implementation committee, told SHAN.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said that finalizing the agreement was not easy.
“There have been many ups and downs in implementing the peace process. It has been really difficult to discuss and negotiate during the COVID-19 period. It was really difficult to come to the agreement,” she said in the conference.
Nai Hongsa, chairperson of the NCA signatory the New Mon State Party, said that this part of the Union Accord is a start toward building a future federal Union, but that more work needs to be done.
“We expect to seek a way to continue to discuss the drafting of constitutions of [ethnic] states and other parliamentary issues,” he said in the conference.
In the conference, the retired Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo proposed that the Union be built with the “Panglong spirit” and the result of political dialogue based on the principles of non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and the perpetuation of sovereignty, as well as justice, freedom and equality, and self-determination rights for ethnic nationalities.
Member of the Union Peace and Dialogue Joint Committee’s secretariat team Sai Kyaw Nyunt proposed a separation of power between the Union, regions and states in keeping with federal principles, particularly as it relates to the management of natural resources, taxes and financing.
He also proposed the separation of power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government by Union, state, region, and self-administered regions, so that local areas could make and enforce laws for their respective communities in accordance with the Constitution.
Parts I and II of the Union Accord were signed in the first and second sessions of the Union Peace Conference in 2017 and 2018 respectively.