Talks with just the eight ethnic armed organisations that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) are inadequate, said Naing Thet Lwin, the vice chairman of the Mon National Party.
He spoke at the summit for leaders of the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) at the office of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in Yangon December 29. Naing Thet Lwin also chaired the meeting.
At the meeting, the leaders of the ethnic minority parties outlined the process of the UNA approving rules and regulations and holding discussions on a future political roadmap for the UNA.
“In the past, the army did not accept the federal system. In those days, Khun Tun Oo, the chairman of the SNLD, advocated for a federal Union, and he was sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison. Now, our country is changing its political system. The federal system has become a top priority. We will have to study different federal systems that have improved countries around the world. We need to follow these examples. It is not easy to develop our country without a ceasefire and peace. It will just be a dream,” Naing Thet Lwin said.
“A democratic system is of great importance, as is the rule of law. The key goal for all ethic minorities is a ceasefire and peace. Holding discussions on peace with only eight ethnic armed organisations is not enough for eternal peace,” Naing Thet Lwin added.
“The UNA’s rules and regulations were approved after the morning session. A new member needs 75 per cent approval of all existing members of the UNA. It must be an ethnic minority party. It must register for membership. We have disciplines to suspend and cancel membership. Choosing chairpeople for meetings falls under UNA regulations,” said Aye Thar Aung, a central executive committee member of the Arakan National Party.
The UNA leaders’ summit will continue tomorrow. The UNA was formed by eight ethnic political parties—the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), Arakan National Party (ANP), Zomi Democracy Federation, Mon National Party, Karen National Party, Kachin National Democracy Congress, Kayan National Party and Shan State Kokang Democratic Party.