NAY PYI TAW, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — The Myanmar government and ethnic armed groups are expected to sign the nationwide ceasefire accord (NCA) in October after agreeing Wednesday on a new way of formally signing the accord.
In their negotiation held in Nay Pyi Taw following a meeting between President U Thein Sein and nine top leaders of ethnic armed groups, negotiators of both sides made some concessions and agreed that 15 armed groups will sign the NCA first. Meanwhile, the door for the remaining non-invited groups to sign the accord remains open as they continue to negotiate their respective demands with the government.
President U Thein Sein assured that the “Unlawful Association” status of the first-batch signatories will be revoked shortly before they give their endorsement for the accord. The status of other ethnic armed groups will also be revoked once they join the signing later.
During Wednesday’s talks, the government also reiterated their promise to draw up a political framework within 60 days after the NCA signing, and start a political dialogue within 90 days.
Present at Wednesday’s meeting were UPWC Vice Chairman U Aung Min, who is also minister at the President’s Office, and Chairman of the Kayin National Union (KNU) Saw Mutu Sae Po, besides leaders of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP).
In the 9th round of peace talks in Yangon between the government’s Union Peace Making Work Committee (UPWC) and the Senior Delegation (SD) of the ethnic armed groups, which ended on Aug. 6, the two sides were able to agree on the draft NCA, except the matter of inviting all other armed groups to take part in the signing of the peace deal.
The government side reiterated its stance of initially signing the deal with the 15 ethnic armed groups that it has already struck bilateral peace agreements with.
However, the ethnic side insisted that all ethnic groups, including the Kokang army, Ta’aung National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA) still fighting the government, be included in the signing.
A draft NCA was preliminarily signed between the government’s UPWC and the ethnic groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) in late March after conclusion of more than one year’s negotiation.