16 Jan Political leaders doubt peace deal will be signed by Union Day

Written by Yu Wai Published in Myanmar Read 3505 times
 Efforts to agree to a ceasefire have dragged on. Meeting of the Nationwide Ceasefire Co-ordination Team and the Union Peace-making Work Committee on April 5, 2014. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

Doubts have been raised over whether President U Thein Sein’s proposal to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement on Union Day will materialise.

With sporadic outbreaks of fighting particularly in Kachin State continuing to break the fragile peace, political party leaders told Mizzima on January 15 that the prospects of a peace deal being inked on February 12, just one month away, appear unlikely.

U Nyan Win, a central executive committee member for the National League for Democracy, told Mizzima that the peace process has dragged on for two years and he would be glad if the deal was signed.

But it is unlikely there will be a ceasefire because fighting has occurred in Kachin State, he said.

“We cannot say that top officers do not have responsibility for low-level fighting between the government forces and ethnic armed groups,” U Nyan Win said. “Top officers must shoulder the responsibility. They need to prevent fighting. And they need to inform the citizens that they are trying to prevent it.”

Mann Aung Pyi Soe, vice chairman of the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, said a ceasefire agreement would be meaningless if there were armed groups in the country who did not sign the accord.

“If fighting continues during ceasefire negotiations, peace efforts will be meaningless,” he said.

U Aye Thar Aung, a central executive committee member of the Rakhine National Party, also expressed his own desire for a ceasefire. But, according to what he had heard, said there is little chance that the ceasefire agreement will be signed on Union Day.

He noted that not all groups have been included in the ceasefire meetings.

“I want the agreement to be signed by all ethnic groups. If some ethnic groups are not allowed to sign it, the ethnic armed groups as a whole will not accept it,” U Aye Thar Aung said.

Last modified on Friday, 16 January 2015 18:05