A total of 53 political parties discussed over the participation of the public in ceasefire talks on Monday in Nay Pyi Taw.
MP Dr Aye Maung, chairperson of Arakan National Party, said: “I was informed about this meeting a week ago. It was titled ‘Conference for finding ways for inclusion of public in nationwide ceasefire talks’ and led by United Democratic Party. Altogether 53 parties attended.”
Three topics were tabled during the discussion: to conduct campaign jointly between parties, to collect opinions of the people throughout the Union [over the ceasefire talks] and to share knowledge about the ceasefire and peace process by organising public peace committees.
“It takes sufficient funding to hold campaigns. U Aung Min [the government’s chief negotiator] said the eight provisions are being discussed. Some ethnic groups are left out from the talks too,” Dr Aye Maung added.
The meeting also heard the views why some ethnic groups refused to agree on a ceasefire deal.
The peace accord is scheduled to be signed on February 12, 2015 but some proposed to put off the peace accord signing until all the ethnic groups have agreed to it.
Dr Aye Maung said that the Section 17-(1) Unlawful Association Act discriminates the armed groups from political parties. Unless the section is abolished, it is difficult for armed groups to sit at the ceasefire talks.
He also suggested a joint peace working committee between political parties similar to MPC [Myanmar Peace Centre – the government’s think tank for peace talks].
Further, he pointed out that the armed ethnic groups have become stronger. Therefore, the government should revise its problem-solving methods.
“There should be equality and self-regulation for ethnic nationals to solve the conflicts. It’s time for the government to prove its high-mindedness.”
The meeting was also attended by members from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.