Wa, Mongla threaten nationwide ceasefire, says KNU official

The Wa and Mongla regions have different views on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) [than the other ethnic organisations], which is a big challenge to finalising it, said Padoh Saw Ta Mu La from the Karen National Union (KNU).

“We understand that all members of Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) will sign the NCA. However, the Wa and Mongla regions have different views on the NCA. They have had more than 26 years to get involved in the NCA. They said the NCA was a political joke. Such views on the NCA are big challenges for the NCA. However, we will sign it willingly,” he said.

The most recent scheduled meeting between the government and NCCT to discuss the NCA was delayed due to disputes that took place at the last meeting in September 2014.

Establishing a framework for political dialogue, holding national-level political discussions and signing a Union Peace Agreement to be approved by the parliament are expected to be the points of discussion after the NCA is signed.

Officials from the Myanmar Peace Centre said on January 17 that the number of ethnic armed groups, plus the parliament, government and the military, are the reason the peace process has been delayed.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army – Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) did not sign the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement on February 12. The UWSA and NDAA-ESS have historically not participated in the nationwide ceasefire process.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) released a statement saying it would continue cooperating with the NCCT until the peace process is complete.

However, the recent clashes in Laukkai involving the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and by Ta’ang National Liberation Army (which is an NCCT member) and the Arakan Army (AA) pose as obstacles to the NCA. The AA and MNDAA are not regarded as the negotiating parties by the government.

The government regards sixteen armed groups as legitimate parties to the NCA process. Five non-negotiate members also involved in the peace process.

The KNU, the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army, the KNU/ Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army signed the Agreement on Peace and National Reconciliation on Union Day, February 12.