Tue 10 Sep 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military,News
The United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC) and the government’s Union Peace-making Working Committee (UPWC) were unable to agree on nationwide ceasefire proposal points, and failed to produce any effective strategies for future peace dialogues when meeting in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. But they agreed to meet again soon. No date or venue has been established at the time of press.
The Sunday meeting marked the second time the multi-ethnic umbrella group and the government’s peace team have met. The first happened in February of this year.
The UNFC remained strong to their original demands: amend the 2008 constitution into one that clearly establishes unalienable rights for Myanmar’s ethnic groups, while turning the country from a unitary state into a federalist union.
The UNFC also stressed its desire for government forces to reposition their troops away from ethnic armed group positions; a move that would build confidence in a nationwide ceasefire agreement.
As part of the discussions UPWC, led by the President’s Office minister and chief peace negotiator U Aung Min asked UNFC officials to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement in October of this year. But the ethnic alliance didn’t respond causing many to speculate the two groups and the forces they represent will remain at arms across the foreseeable future.
According to the Irrawaddy News Magazine, the UNFC will be meeting with other ethnic umbrella organizations like the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD) and the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) before the end of 2013 to finish drafting their version of a new constitution. The document will then be toted during future peace negotiations as a consolidated version of the major ethnic groups’ demands. It remains to be seen how Naypyidaw will respond to the new draft.