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The nationwide ceasefire agreement drafted by the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) has been submitted to the Burmese government’s peace negotiator Aung Min.
The NCCT, a committee of ethnic armed group representatives, met with the government’s Internal Peace Making Committee (IPMC) on Wednesday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. While submitting the draft is an important step in Burma’s protracted peace process, no agreement has yet been reached between the two sides.
“The Minister was in Chiang Mai for pre-negotiation, so there was no decision made in the meeting,” said Kwe Htoo Win, general secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU) and deputy chair of the NCCT.
The agreement was written during a conference of ethnic leaders in KNU headquarters Lawkheela (Lay Wah), Karen State, last week. The conference was attended by representatives of 17 of Burma’s ethnic armies.
A proposed nationwide ceasefire has been in the works since the first historic gathering of ethnic leaders was held in Laiza, Kachin State, in late October 2013. The group has since met several times to arrive at the current draft, containing 11 points approved by 16 of the 17 Lawkheela conference participants. The only leaders present who have yet to sign are the Shan State Army – South.
Ethnic leaders will reconvene next month in Karen State capital Hpa-an, where members of the IPMC will meet with them and attempt to reach agreement on the long-awaited pact.
The Hpa-an conference will be the next in an ongoing series of peace talks geared towards ending the sporadic civil conflict that has plagued Burma for nearly six decades. While most of the country’s ethnic militias have signed bilateral peace pacts with the central government, the current peace process aims to secure ceasefires across the nation and establish a working plan for political reconciliation.