Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may become involved in the peace process even before her National League for Democracy forms a government next year. Yesterday, representatives of some of the eight ethnic armed groups that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord last month signalled their wish to consult her.

The agreement itself will soon go before the current parliament, which has just begun its final session before the MPs elected on November 8 take office in January.

U Hla Maung Shwe, a senior official with the Myanmar Peace Center, said he had no date for the submission to parliament, which is required by the text of the agreement.

“It’s part of the NCA process. The government will submit it to parliament soon,” he said.

The then-opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declined an invitation to attend the ceremony held to mark the October 15 signing of the accord, which was signed by eight ethnic armed groups, with 15 other groups refusing to sign. During the election campaign, President U Thein Sein hailed the signing as a “historic gift” for the next generation and a major achievement of his tenure, even if it was not the fully nationwide agreement many had anticipated he was hoping to build his legacy around.

The ceasefire signatories are now proceeding with the implementation of the agreement, drawing up a military code of conduct and related guidelines.

“Parliament has to confirm that the agreement is constitutional,” said Colonel U Khun Okkar, chair of the Pa-O National Liberation Army yesterday, amid concerns that the text might have to be adjusted to conform with prior legislation.

“We agreed to send the NCA to parliament because we want to have a legal document, but no changes should be made to the text. If we want to build peace, the agreement might have to override some existing laws. Parliament should avoid making changes so that the political dialogue can begin on time,” he said.

Myanmar Peace Center’s U Hla Maung Shwe said he saw no obstacles to the political dialogue.

“The NCA has already been signed by the president, the military and parliamentary representatives. I think it will pass smoothly,” he said.

As the political dialogue is scheduled to begin within the term of the current government, ethnic leaders believe formal talks will probably begin in January. They also want to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We have to work together with the next government in implementing the NCA process in the future,” said Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, a member of the political dialogue committee. “We also believe the NLD wants to cooperate in the peace process,” he added.

No NLD representative attended last month’s NCA signing ceremony. Yesterday, party spokesperson U Win Htein said, “Bringing genuine peace to the country is our first priority. We are following the peace process closely. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will certainly lead the process in the future.”

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/17744-nld-leader-asked-to-join-peace-process.html