The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Wednesday rejected an earlier statement made by the government-run Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) about pushing forward with the peace process and signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement as soon as possible.

After a meeting between the UPWC, NLD and other ethnic parties on Monday at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon, the UPWC released a statement about developments in the ongoing peace process and urged all parties to take part in future political dialogue. It also called for the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement as soon as possible; to adhere to the agreement when discussing a political framework and facilitating the dialogue; and to organise a meeting between the UPWC, ethnic armed groups and political parties as soon as possible.

Appearing on the Myanmar Peace Centre’s Facebook page, the statement ended by saying that all political parties that attended the meeting had endorsed it.

On Wednesday, the NLD released a counter-statement saying that while the UPWC had invited all parties to Monday’s meeting as a bid to have a discussion about the peace process, the NLD, ethnic parties and “other parties” did not actually condone the “joint statement” released by the UPWC.

While they were one of 66 political parties present during the UPWC meeting, they did not join a meeting on the sidelines, which was where the purported joint statement was drafted. The NLD’s two representatives declined to join this meeting because they did not believe it was relevant, the statement said.

However, despite not supporting the UPWC statement, the opposition party’s announcement failed to clarify its own position on the peace process.

The UPWC and ethnic armed groups are scheduled for a meeting on Friday and Saturday to discuss the third draft of the nationwide ceasefire agreement. Ethnic armed groups have expressed that the ceasefire can only succeed if the government guarantees the formation of a genuine federal union. However, the government has been prioritising facilitation of political dialogue after signing the ceasefire agreement.

UWPC’s leading negotiator Union Minister Aung Min told political party representatives at Monday’s meeting that the government is aiming to move forward on political dialogue in the beginning of next year.