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The Burmese government is still refusing to share the framework it proposes for conducting political dialogue with ethnic armed groups following the signing of a ceasefire agreement.
Senior advisor for the Myanmar Peace Center, Hla Maung Shwe, said “Many people may misunderstand if we revealed our framework. They might think we are forcing it [on the other side]. That’s why we don’t want to disclose the specific details ahead of time. We need to negotiate until we agree the framework from which political dialogue can proceed.”
His comments come after two days of talks in Rangoon between the government’s Union Peacemaking Working Committee (UPWC) and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), which represents an alliance of the major ethnic armed groups.
While both sides have spent most of the time at the conference discussing the terms of a nationwide ceasefire agreement, they also discussed the steps for determining the framework which would take political dialogue forward. The delegations had previously agreed that discussions on such a framework would begin immediately, with a fully confirmed structure of terms in place within 60 days of signing the ceasefire, and the first round of talks taking place within 90 days of signing.
“Some political parties have apparently been appraised as to the details of the government’s plan for political dialogue. However I believe everyone should be party to this information,” said Chin Chin, a representative of the ethnic bloc Nationalities Brotherhood Federation. “This is important to everyone in the country. It is a national cause and an ethnic cause. This agreement is not just for one or two years, it must be set for generations to come.”
On Friday, the government delegation announced that it agrees to the principle of establishing a federal union in the country, a proposal long advocated by ethnic leaders.
A third day of negotiations between the UPWC and the NCCT continues on Sunday.