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State government prepares to open talks with NMSP

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Sources close to the Mon State government said that it was forming a peace delegation to talk with New Mon State Party (NMSP) leaders.
The delegation would be led by Mon State government Electrical and Industrial Minister Nai Lawi Aung a.k.a. Nai Myint Swe, said the source. Other members would include two former NMSP leaders, a leader of All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP) and an influential monk.
United Nationalities Federal Council General-Secretary Nai Han Thar. Photo: monnews.orgThe NMSP reached a cease-fire agreement in 1995 with the then-military regime led by former Senior-General Than Shwe. The agreement was broken last year. During the 15-years cease-fire period, about 20 NMSP leaders retired from their posts. Among them, Nai Lawi Aung, was appointed to the State government, which was formed in March 2011.

NMSP leader Nai Tin Aung was reportedly included in the peace negotiation delegation. The delegation members must be approved by the central government.

“These signs seem to be good. The talks may lead to a tripartite dialogue,” said Nai Tin Aung, referring to talks including the central government, pro-democracy opposition forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic groups.

Nai Tin Aung is the son of Mon People’s Front chairman Nai Aung Tun, who surrendered to the former U Nu government in 1958. He is one of the key figures who tried to reunify two split NMSP factions in late 1980. After the NMSP reached a cease-fire agreement with the previous military regime, he resigned from party duties in 2000.

On August 18, 2011, the central government issued an open invitation to armed groups, saying: “The armed ethnic groups who wish to talk about peace should contact the state governments concerned separately as a preliminary step.”

In southern Burma, the NMSP has a 3,000-man army. Officials said they were considering the offer. “If we do not accept their offer, the road to peace will be closed. The new government usually does such things. But we don’t trust everything yet. But at the same time, we cannot say it’s a bad offer. We need to wait and see,” said NMSP General- Secretary Nai Han Thar.

Nai Han Thar, who is also the general secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), said that the UNFC allowed all member organizations to engage in a dialogue with the state governments concerned separately, but politics and cease-fire talks must be negotiated only with the alliance group.

The UNFC was formed on February 17, 2010, with 12 cease-fire and non-ceasefire groups for defending collectively against the government’s military and political pressure. The 12 organizations are divided into six core group members and six alliance group members.

Core members include the Kachin Independence Organization, New Mon State Party and the Shan State Progressive Party, all former cease-fire groups that parted with the government over its demand for them to convert their armies into a Border Guard Force (BGF) or People’s Militia under government control.
Last Updated ( Friday, 23 September 2011 22:42 )  

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