Published on Monday, 09 September 2013 20:55
The meeting between government peace making committee and UNFC in Chiang Mai (Photo - EMG)
A government peace making committee and a group comprising of 11 ethnic armed groups failed to reach an agreement on Sunday to establish a nation-wide ceasefire deal.
The Union Peacemaking Implementation Work Committee, led by Minister of the President's Office, Aung Min was meeting with the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) for the third time in Chiang Mai. The UNFC refused to accept the government's offer to sign a nation-wide ceasefire deal in the capital Nay Pyi Taw in October due to a lack of political guarantees.
"The government offered us to sign the nationwide ceasefire deal in October. After that the political dialogue will move on in November. As this offer can't give us political guarantee, we don’t accept it," said Phado Marn Marn, the general secretary of the UNFC.
"The government highlights principles before going to the political dialogue and offers us to sign the nationwide ceasefire deal. During our first meeting, we demanded six points for the ceasefire. We explained what we did at the second-time ethnic conference and proposed five points for the ceasefire," Phado Marn Marn added.
The UNFC, a group representing 11 ethnic armed groups, proposed five prerequisites to signing a nation-wide ceasefire. These include putting an end to ongoing skirmishes between the army and armed groups, building trust in military affairs, including all armed groups in any ceasefire agreement, that the government announce before signing any deal and that there be transparency in any national-level agreement.
"Today’s meeting is nothing in particular. The government invites us to sign the nationwide ceasefire deal in October and asks us about the conditions for the political dialogue. We don’t mean to decline the signing of the nationwide ceasefire deal," Colonel Khun Okka of the UNFC told Eleven Media Group.
The government and the UNFC held meetings for the first time in November in 2012 and the second time in February this year in Thailand. The nation-wide ceasefire agreement is seen as a necessary first step to negotiate a lasting peace to end decades of civil war between the army and minority ethnic groups who have been fighting for regional autonomy.
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