Myanmar gov’t, 15 ethnic armed groups hold 1st peace talks

YANGON, (PNA/Xinhua) — Myanmar government’s Central Peace Making Work Committee and representatives of 15 rebel ethnic armed groups out of 17 began their first ever peace talks on Monday in six decades in Myitgyina, capital of northernmost Kachin state, local sources said.

The historical talks involving the largest number of ethnic armed groups came two days after leaders of 17 ethnic armed groups signed an 11-point framework agreement themselves in Laiza of the state to prepare for a nationwide ceasefire deal with the government.

The ethnic armed groups’ 11-point draft framework agreement, which mainly called for holding political dialogue with the government soonest after the latter promises a ceasefire with all the groups, will be presented for the two-day talks.

The government side was headed by Vice Chairman of the Central Peace-Making Work Committee U Aung Min, while the 15 ethnic armed groups were represented by their leaders. These groups include Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Kayin National Union (KNU), Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Restoration Council of the Shan State Army (RCSS), Pa-O National Liberation Organization, Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Chin National Front (CNF).

The Myitgyina talks are expected to work out a comprehensive ceasefire paper for the final signing of a nationwide ceasefire accord between the government and the ethnic armed groups.

A total of 17 ethnic armed groups signed an 11-point framework agreement among themselves at the closing of their four-day Conference of Leaders of Ethnic Armed Groups in the border town of Laiza, northernmost Kachin state, for further negotiation for a nationwide ceasefire with the government.

The framework agreement also includes laying down a political roadmap acceptable by both sides, keeping promise for holding political dialogue, trust building and its implementation.

The Laiza summit of ethnic armed groups, which lasted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, mainly discussed nationwide ceasefire, political dialogue and establishment of federal union system.