Nationwide ceasefire talks to resume in mid-March

The Union Peacemaking Work Committee and armed ethnic groups have reached an agreement to resume nationwide ceasefire talks in the middle of March this year.  

The technical team of the UPWC and the leaders of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) met in Chiang Mai, Thailand on February 21 and agreed to resume the talks next month after the sixth peace talks failed to reach any agreement.

The meeting, which lasted for about three hours, was attended by Phado Saw Kwe Htoo Win, second leader-1 of the NCCT, Maj-Gen Guan Maw, second leader-2 of the NCCT and representatives of Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) which is the technical team of UPWC.

“The seventh official ceasefire talks are scheduled in the middle of March. Almost all the points have already been agreed with only a few left to be discussed. All the points will be likely agreed between the two parties,” Phado Saw Kwe Htoo Win said.

“The NCCT will hold its meeting in Chiang Mai on February 27, 28 and March 1. Then the seventh official meeting of the NCCT and the UPWC will be held in Yangon after March 12,” Hla Maung Shwe of the MPC said.

The government ministers led by Aung Min, the vice-chairman of the UPWC, held a meeting with the representatives of the NCCT in Chiang Mai in the first week of February. Both sides discussed the disagreements left in the draft of the national ceasefire.

The UPWC and the NCCT started holding talks in Myitkyina, Kachin State in the first week of November, 2013. At the initial stage, each group discussed each ceasefire draft. Both sides agreed to draft a nationwide ceasefire deal in March, 2014.

Several attempts to sign the nationwide ceasefire deal have failed in the past but both sides expressed high optimism that this time a genuine peace agreement will be reached.