DVB Multimedia Group

Ceasefire talks postponed due to terminology dispute

FILE PHOTO: Delegates pictured during discussions at Rangoon’s National Reconciliation and Peace Centre on 10-11 August. (PHOTO: DVB)

A scheduled meeting between the Burmese government and an alliance of ethnic armed groups was postponed today due to a disagreement over terminology.

The Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN), representing the ethnic alliance United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), was due to meet the government’s Peace Commission (PC) in Rangoon to continue discussions aimed at bringing the UNFC members on board the peace process.

At a previous meeting in August, both sides had agreed to four of eight points proposed by the DPN. A further two points were agreed by consensus last week.

However, according to a PC member who wished to remain anonymous, a disagreement has since evolved over the wording in Point 2 of the proposal – a federal union will be established with equal rights and autonomy, on the basis of freedom, equality, and justice, and in accordance with the Panglong Spirit.

However, military representatives apparently wish the term federal union to be replaced by nation of democratic and federal union.

This follows a New Year’s speech by Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who stated that the military is trying to establish a “nation based on stability, development, democracy and federalism.”

“The wordage will be discussed at a later date,” said the PC member. “We don’t know when.”

DVB could not reach any member of the DPN for comment.

Both delegations had sat for talks last week – their eighth meeting – when signs were positive that the signing of the NCA was imminent.

DPN’s leader Khu Oo Reh said after the eighth meeting that the UNFC intended to sign the NCA this year.

The UNFC comprises: New Mon State Party; Karenni National Progressive Party; Arakan National Council; and Lahu Democratic Union.