Sunday, August 20, 2017

UNFC, peace panel talks about role of ceasefire monitors

The International observers’ role in the ceasefire monitoring, implementation and coordination of the ceasefire agreements will be negotiated by United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) and government’s Peace Commission (PC) at the meeting that kicked off Wednesday in Yangon.

UNFC is an alliance of five ethnic armed organizations that have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with government. Its negotiating body Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) Tuesday arrived to Yangon for sixth official meeting with PC.

U Hla Maung Shwe, an advisor to PC said nine members of DPN would meet with PC at National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Yangon.

“There are two points left for discussion,” he said.

As with the previous accounts of UNFC, the proposals are made for strengthening the ceasefire after signing the NCA with government and to hold effective political dialogues.

U Twan Zaw, a member of Arakan National Council of UNFC said the points for discussion include possible international observers’ role in the domestic ceasefire monitoring process.

“We have not changed our stance. Government has not yet accepted our proposal for the involvement of international experts and observers in Joint Monitoring Committee and Joint Implementation and Coordination Meeting,” he said.

Observers and some in the signatory groups to the NCA said it would be difficult for Tatmadaw to give international community such a role.

U Twan Zaw also said government has not accepted the proposed change for political dialogue composition at the Union Peace Conference, held twice a year.

“We have proposed tripartite dialogue structure. But, this will be discussed at the review meeting of political dialogue framework,” he said.

The UNFC want to reduce the number of stakeholder-groups from the current seven to three – government, armed ethnic groups and political parties.

Political dialogue framework was drafted after the NCA signing ceremony in October 2015 between government and eight armed groups. However, government and signatory groups agreed to make the framework flexible for amendment.

Telling his perspective, U Twan Zaw said they have learned the difference in stances between Tatmadaw and government.

“While government side seems to have no problem declaring nationwide ceasefire, Tatmadaw side is supposedly not willing to do so,” he said.

If the proposals are agreed in early, the signing of NCA by UNFC members could come fast, he added.

Meanwhile, a review meeting on the peace process by eight signatory armed groups kicked off Tuesday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Karen National Union’s chairperson General Saw Mutu Say Poe said weaknesses are found in the peace process. Members of signatory groups said they would discuss with government for reviewing the process.