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Mon State government and NMSP meet to discuss peace


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Delegations from the Mon State government and New Mon State Party (NMSP) on Thursday conducted peace talks in a government military compound in Ye Township, said Nai Hong Sar Pon Khaing, a NMSP foreign affairs official.
 
NMSP spoke person Nai Hong Sar Pon Khaing. Photo: monnews.orgIn a one-hour meeting, the NMSP repeated its previous positions and policies, said NMSP General-Secretary Nai Hong Sar. The NMSP, with an army of about 3,000 soldiers, is based at the top of Ye Stream in Mon State in southern Burma.
 
“We proposed that the government announce a nationwide cease-fire and to hold a dialogue with the UNFC [United Nationalities Federal Council] to solve political problems. Our party did not demand any other things separately. They said they will pass on our messages to their superior officers,” Nai Hong Sar told Mizzima.
 
It was the first meeting between the two parties since the previous cease-fire was broken. Delegates from the Mon State government included the Mon State Minister for Security and Border Affairs Colonel Htay Myint Aung; Colonel Tun Tun Nyi of the Southeast Command; and Mon State municipal officials. The NMSP delegation comprised central executive Nai Tala Nyi; central committee member Nai Baya Lai; and Lieutenant Colonel Nai Hong Sar.

In 1994, the former junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, and the NMSP held four meetings at the government’s Southeast Command and achieved a cease-fire in mid- 1995. Recently, the former junta ordered the ethnic armed group to transform into a Border Guard Force and people’s militia group, and the 15-year cease-fire was broken.
 
In September, Mon State Chief Minister Ohn Myint proposed that the central government form a peace mission led by Nai Lawi Oung aka Nai Myint Swe, the Mon State minister of electric power and industry, but the proposal was rejected because most of the nominated members of the peace mission were former NMSP members, according to sources close to the Mon State government.
 
The Overseas Mon Coordinating Committee (OMCC) issued a statement on Monday asking the NMSP not to engage the government in peace talks without members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) taking part.
 
The NMSP is a member of the UNFC, which comprises an alliance of ethnic armed groups. The UNFC has allowed its member groups to meet with relevant state and regional governments as an initial step, but all cease-fire and political discussions must involve the UNFC as a whole.
 
The Burmese government issued an announcement to all ethnic armed groups on August 18, saying: “As the first phase, those national race armed groups wishing to make peace through solutions to armed conflicts may contact the State or Region government concerned to launch preliminary programmes [talks].”
 
In late September, a delegation led by Colonel Aung Lwin, the Karen State minister for security and border affairs, met with the Karen National Union, a member-group of the UNFC, on the Thai-Burmese border to offer to hold peace talks. The KNU replied that it wanted discussions with the central government, not with the Karen State government, according to KNU sources.
 
Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) spokesman Major Sai Lao Hseng said that in late September, the SSA-S accepted the Shan State government’s offer to engage in peace talks, but the location and the time for the talks have not been set. SSA-S is not a member of the UNFC.

On October 1, a delegation led by Thein Zaw, the chairman of National Races and Internal Peacekeeping Committee and secretary 2 of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, and the leaders of the United Wa State Party held a meeting, but government negotiators rejected some key demands of the Wa.

Similarly, government representatives met with the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) aka the Mong La group last week as an initial step to discuss peace. The meetings will continue within a few days.
 
The UNFC was formed on February 17 to work to establish a genuine federal union. It comprises both ethnic cease-fire groups and non-ceasefire groups. There are six dedicated member groups and six associate member groups. The group aims to cooperate in resisting the government’s political pressure for individual cease-fires and its military offensives.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 October 2011 13:07 )  

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