KNU Chairman Speech
At The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Signing Ceremony
On Behalf Of The Ethnic Armed Organisations
15th October 2015
I extend warm greetings to respected His Excellency President U Thein Sein, government officials, the Commander in Chief and Tatmadaw officials, Speakers of Parliament, national and international witnesses, representatives of the international community who have provided all-round assistance to the peace process, diplomatic corps, special guests, our ethnic brothers and sisters, leaders of Ethnic Armed Organizations, leaders and officials who have participated in the drafting and negotiations of the NCA, working groups, technical teams and media assembled here at this Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Signing Ceremony.
I would like to begin by saying that I am honored to speak at this auspicious occasion on behalf of the Ethnic Armed Organizations who are signatories to the NCA.
Representatives of the government and Ethnic Armed Organizations took almost two years to negotiate and finalize the NCA in order to end decades-long armed conflict that has afflicted Myanmar since independence.
The NCA is a new page in history, and is the product of brave and energetic negotiations. Moreover, the NCA was achieved due to unity and trust between the negotiators, a desire to compromise, collectively solve issues, and find answers to political issues through negotiations rather than force of arms.
More than just a ceasefire agreement, the NCA is the first step on the important road towards the establishment of a federal and democratic Union. I caution that we will face many challenges along the way.
Therefore, whether it is implementing the terms of the NCA or discussing issues that remain unresolved due to time limitations as soon as possible after the signing, we must all patiently and resolutely overcome these obstacles together.
Since the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO), the government, Tatmadaw officials, political parties and other relevant stakeholders will be involved in political dialogue we will encounter different opinions and perspectives. Therefore, instead of only favoring one’s views, we must act in the spirit of mutual respect and national reconciliation to achieve positive outcomes for the peace process through an inclusive political dialogue.
Additionally, I would like to especially request and urge the Tatmadaw to resolve issues through negotiations rather than use of force in order to bring the organizations that are currently unable to sign the NCA back into the process.
In opening the way for these organizations, de-escalation mechanisms are important, and the leaders who are signatories to the NCA will need to coordinate and find solutions.
In conclusion, today is truly an auspicious occasion since for the first time in Myanmar’s history, a nationwide ceasefire has been agreed between the government and eight Ethnic Armed Organizations. It can be said that today symbolizes a “new page in history”.
Therefore, I call on all to banish the ills we have suffered as a result of armed conflict, leave a legacy of peace to future generations, pledge to successfully implement all steps of a transparent, responsible, and accountable peace process that is based on fairness and respect, and to unwavering lay the foundation for a democratic and Federal Union while avoiding force during political dialogue.