The Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT)—a 16-member body which has been negotiating a nationwide ceasefire with Naypyidaw on behalf of most of Burma’s major armed ethnic groups—would like civil society organizations to refrain from participating in the upcoming tripartite peace talks on political issues, said NCCT leader Nai Hong Sar. The three-party peace talks will involve the NCCT, political parties, and the Burmese government.

“We accept civil society’s point of view, but in political talks I would like to hold tripartite talks. If civil society groups request to be involved, then other organizations will do the same, and I am concerned that future political talks will become confusing,” said Nai Hong Sar in an interview with IMNA.

Nai Hong Sar continued that the Burmese government has insisted on having 8-party political talks, whereas other groups have requested 4 or 6-party talks.

“There is no sign that they expect to include youths in the decision-making process. They will only accept the participation of youths in the discussion of youth issues,” said Ko Moe Thwe, general secretary of the National Youth Congress.

Ko Moe Thwe then asserted that youths should have an opportunity to take part in political discussions about a variety issues rather than only youth issues

U Ko Ko Zaw, a member of the Mon State Ceasefire Observing Committee, said that “aside from youth groups, women groups have also requested to take part in the ceasefire and political talks. Previously, the NCCT said that in order to achieve the best outcome everyone should be include in the peace process, [but it seems like the NCCT’s position has changed].”

The NCCT met with civil society organizations on August 18th in Rangoon and reportedly will continue to hold meetings with civil society groups whenever they come to Rangoon for peace talks.