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Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Unlikely in April

By Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center  •  April 4, 2015

On 31 March, the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) and the Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) finalized the draft of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which comprises seven chapters and thirty-three sections. China, the UN, and other armed resistance organizations such as the Restoration Council of Shan State, All Burma Students Democratic Front, and Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang observed the latest round of the talks in Rangoon.

General N’Ban La, Chairman of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), told ENAC that he welcomes the finalization of the draft NCA, however, he cautions that the Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) Leadership Summit will decide whether or not to sign the NCA. If the EAOs and the Union government sign the NCA, the next step of the peace process is to set the framework for political dialogue and then begin the political dialogue.

Four challenges indicate why the signing of the NCA is unlikely to take place in April:

  1. Only the draft text has been agreed. Many news agencies, stakeholders, and the international community have misunderstood that the parties signed the NCA. This is not true. Five representatives each from the NCCT and UPWC signed a joint statement affirming the completion of the draft NCA text. The EAO Leadership Summit and the Union Peacemaking Central Committee will decide whether to sign the NCA or not and whether to make any additional changes.
  2. The timeframe is too short. Burma’s public holiday Thingyan (Water Festival) will

occur the third week of April. The EAOs’ Summit will likely take place after the festival. If both parties agree to sign, the earliest possible date would be in May.

  1. Continued offensives against the MNDAA. The Tatmadaw has escalated the conflict with the Kokang ethnic armed organization, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance

Army (MNDAA), deploying fighter jets. The MNDAA is a member of the NCCT and the

UNFC, the major alliance of twelve EAO members and four associate member

organizations. If the fighting continues, it will be difficult for the EAO leaders to abandon the MNDAA and sign the NCA.

4.Disagreement over signatories and witnesses: The NCCT and UPWC have not agreed on which EAOs will sign the NCA. The government wants to exclude five NCCT members:

The MNDAA, Arakan National Congress (ANC), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Wa

National Organization (WNO), and Arakan Army (AA). The NCCT members are

committed to only sign the NCA if all its members sign, and seek a truly “nationwide” NCA that will mean all fighting will cease throughout the country upon signing. In addition, the domestic and international witnesses to the NCA have not been agreed.

Although the NCA has not yet been signed, the agreement on the draft text is a necessary step toward political dialogue via the mutually agreed seven-step roadmap.

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This post is in: Press Release

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