Two weeks after the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), the Joint Monitoring Committee met in Rangoon, Burma on the 29th October 2015. The JMC consisted of representatives from the 8 Ethnic Armed Organizations’ (EAOs) signatories as well as the Myanmar government. The meeting was held at the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) in Rangoon, and the 70 attendees were composed of leaders and representatives from both sides, including the technical teams.
During the opening speech, Union minister U Khin Maung Soe said that the aim of JMC is to reduce the fighting and conflict in the ceasefire areas. He said that both sides need to work together to try to build confidence and trust through the implementation of the Joint Monitoring.
From the EAOs side, General Saw Isaac Po, Quarter Master General of KNLA and KNU Central Standing Committee, delivered a speech. He pointed out that since the NCA signing on October 15th 2015, both sides are working within the agreed timeframe.
‘However, we continue to hear about fighting in some areas. It shows that we need to try hard again and again on this issue as the level of confidence building between the EAOs and the government is still low. We usually say that we are trying to be a monitoring [system?] for the NCA but at the same time we should notice that the non-signatories are also monitoring our activities and they expressed their concerns. Therefore, this is the time to prove that we are moving forward on the right path,’ he said.
‘We need to be aware that the international communities support us but every step we take we need to take with caution, because as we respect the value and the life of the General and his family, at the same time we should not forget to respect the value and the life of the private soldier and his family.’
He concluded by saying:
‘In conclusion, the aim of the JMC is to monitor the NCA in order for fighting not to occur again; we need to find ways to prevent it. Then we hope that the people who are living in this country can live together peacefully and build a democratic federal union as we have envisioned.’
Both sides then discussed how to set up the JMC format, its structure, as well as the Code of Conduct and Terms of Reference for the whole JMC mechanism that will be implemented in the near future. These meetings will continue until October 31st 2015.