Myanmar’s peace process to be continued in next government term

NAY PYI TAW, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — The five-day first Myanmar Union Peace Conference ended on Saturday in Nay Pyi Taw, setting the unfinished discussions to be carried in a future similar conference in the next term of the government which will take office at the end of March.

Current Vice President Sai Mauk Kham underlined the peace conference as a peaceful exchange of views on agenda items and building trust among stakeholder groups.

He called for making great stride in building a democratic federal union that can ensure peace and prosperity and equality for the next generation.

During the final day of the conference on Saturday, the seven stakeholder groups submitted a set of discussions on the given agenda items to the conference for approval which cover political, security, economic and social issues, as well as issues related to land and natural resources.

Four proposals were also submitted to the conference : to make efforts to finish the national-level political dialogue and the peace conference successfully within three to five years to be able to reach the union agreement; to convene the second union peace conference at appropriate time; to enable at least 30 percent participants at different levels of political dialogue under the dialogue framework of the Nationwide Cease fire Accord (NCA) be women; and to honor those who have participated in the peace process.

Peace process establishment and the negotiated points at the union peace conference were set to be handed over to the new government elected through the Nov. 8 general election 2015.

The conference, inaugurated by President U Thein Sein, was the biggest gathering of political forces since its independence in 1948.

The peace conference involved hundreds of representatives from stakeholder groups of the government, parliament, military and eight ethnic armed groups out of 15, who have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA), as well as political parties and other players.

U Thein Sein stressed that the peace process plays an important part in the country’s political transition and the peace conference is also part of the power transfer process following the general election in November 2015. All the efforts the current government has made laid foundation for the new government to continue the peace process, he added.

Myanmar government held talks with 15 major ethnic groups and signed the NCA with eight of them on Oct. 15, 2015. After that a union-level Joint Cease fire Monitoring Committee (JCMC) was formed along with a tripartite Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) which drafted a framework for holding political dialogue as part of the implementation of the NCA.

The UPDJC comprises more than a dozen representatives from the government, ethnic armed groups and political parties.

Under the NCA, the two sides agreed on some post-ceasefire steps and the unfinished peace process includes bringing in seven other ethnic armed groups that have signed the ceasefire accord to complete the truce signing process.

The eight signatories of the armed groups are Kayin National Union (KNU), Kayin National Liberation Army (KNLA)-Peace Council, Pa-O Nationalities Liberation Organization (PNLO), All Burma Students’Democratic Front (ABSDF), Chin National Front (CNF), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) / Shan State Army-South (SSA-S).

The seven remaining non-ceasefire groups are Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Kayinni National Progressive Party(KNPP), National Demoratic Alliance Army (NDAA), New Mon State Party (NMSP), National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) and United Wa State Army (UWSA).

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