Govt negotiators agree to rewrite constitution

Kyaw Zin Win
The government’s Peace Commission meets rebel representatives in Yangon on August 11.


The government's Peace Commission has agreed to four of eight proposals of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNDC) at talks in Yangon. 

The remaining four points would be taken back for future discussion, both sides said. 

It was agreed that the government and the Tatmadaw must announce a nationwide ceasefire within 24 hours after reaching an agreement and UNFC’s members must also announce the ceasefire within 48 hours.  

They agreed to create a federal, democratic union, capable of guaranteeing the rights of  democracy, equality and autonomy based on freedom and justice must be established. 

They agreed that representatives from the government, Parliament, Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organisations and political parties must be allowed to participate in different political dialogues. Other groups with expertise in specific areas should also be consulted. 

A constitution drafted by the Panglong peace conferences must be enacted, both sides agreed. 

Zaw Htay, director general of the State Counsellor's Office, said: “We could not make some decisions at the meeting and will have to detail the situation to our leaders to seek approval. All the remaining four points are also acceptable to both sides but decisions can’t be made."

Tun Zaw of the UNFC said: “All the remaining points will be discussed at the same time as the points are related to one another. The ceasefire monitoring committees machinery must be strengthened regarding military matters. The current debates will have to be presented to the leaders of both sides. 

The four remaining points left for discussion involve military deployments, the inclusion of international observers on ceasefire monitoring committees and foreign judges must be included on a panel to rule on ceasefire violations. The final point for debate is the demand that any ceasefire must comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. 

Khu Oo Rel, chief UNFC representative, said: “We are getting very near to implementing all the points. We are not authorised to make every decision. We want all the people to understand us. Our decisions are made at different levels. At every step we are finding a solution. We are trying to the best of our ability to achieve peace for the country.”

Dr Tin Myo Win, chairman of the Peace Commission, said: “We have much left to continue negotiating. We will handle one point after another to reach an agreement. We will meet again after presenting the situation to the leaders on both sides.”