Seventh Round of Nationwide Ceasefire Negotiations
18 March 2015
The seventh round of nationwide ceasefire negotiations between the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) and the Union Peace-making Working Committee (UPWC) commenced on the 17 March, at Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon. Observers include UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Chinese Special Envoy Mr. Wang Ying Fan, and armed groups including RCSS (Restoration Council of Shan State), ABSDF (All Burma Students’ Democratic Front), NDAA (National Democratic Alliance Army) and NSCN (National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang).
In their opening speeches, both NCCT and UPWC leaders stated that the ongoing armed conflicts in ethnic areas can only be resolved politically and not by force. In his opening speech, Karen Nation Union General Secretary Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo, and NCCT Deputy Team Leader One said, “The ongoing fighting in the ethnic areas, especially in the Northern part of the country, obstructs our negotiation talks. NCCT has come prepared, and we hope that these talks will be the final talks. These conflicts can only be resolved if we discuss them on the negotiation table”.
Unlike previous negotiations, this round started with the discussion of the ongoing fighting in northern Shan State and Kachin State. Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo said, “Today we discussed how to stop the current fighting in the northern areas. Tomorrow we will talk about the code of conduct and the joint monitoring system before we start talking about nationwide ceasefire agreement”.
When asked by the media after the first day of negotiations, NCCT leader Nai Hong Sar said, “Our discussions today mainly focused on ending fighting and reducing the problems. The discussion today went smoothly and was fruitful. However, there are some points that were discussed today that need further discussion”.
This seventh round of nationwide ceasefire negotiations commences six months after the previous round of negotiations. It is expected that this round of talks will last for several days. Both sides are working on finding solutions for the unresolved points not previously agreed.