Military council holds talk with 5 NCA-signatories for constitutional amendment

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Nay Pyi Taw, December (29)

At the invitation of the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), five ethnic armed organizations that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement are in Nay Pyi Taw to attend the peace talks, including the 2008 constitutional amendment.

On the first day of the talks, December 27, the military council announced that they had agreed on eight plans to be discussed in detail at the meeting.

Among the attendees were Khun Okkar, patron of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization-PNLO; Vice-Chair Saw Mra Yazar Linn of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP); Commander-in-Chief Saw Stee of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA); Vice-Chair Dr Naw Kapaw Htoo of the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KNLA -PC), Vice-Chair Kyar Phu of the Lahu Democratic Union(LDU) and their representatives.

On December 19, the National Solidarity and Peacemaking Negotiation Committee (NSPNC) invited seven ethnic groups to discuss the information that EAOs want to prepare for the constitutional amendment.

The Military Council invited three representatives, including the leaders of each of the seven NCA signatories, to attend a meeting on December 27 and 29, to discuss the 2008 constitution and other issues.

In response to that invitation, the seven NCA-signatories held a meeting on December 23 and rejected the invitation of the peace committee.

However, the five NCA signatories are now attending the junta’s 2008 Constitutional Reform and Peace Talks.

Those five NCA-signatories attended the junta’s peace talks of their own accord, the spokesperson of the seven NCA-signatories, colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt said.

Among the seven ethnic groups, the Restoration Council for Shan State (RCSS) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP), which attended the peace talks twice, did not appear at this time.

Than Lwin Times couldn’t reach the spokespersons of the RCSS and NMSP for comment regarding these peace talks.

Comrade Salai Yaw Aung, member of the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)’s Central Steering Committee, said it is necessary discuss with everyone, not just the EAOs, whether for the sake of 2008 constitutional reform or peace.

The military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, said on the 7th anniversary of the signing of the NCA on October 15 that certain provisions of the 2008 Constitution must be amended in order to implement the demands and wishes of the ethnic groups.

The Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), which have been engaged in armed clashes with the military council after the coup, told the Than Lwin Times that the constitutional amendment is only to maintain the military’s power, and that it is not credible and acceptable.

Veteran politician U Pe Than said that the military council is now trying to go in a direction that will be legal for the constitutional amendment in the parliament that will appear after the next election.

In addition, U Pe Than pointed out that if a general agreement on the wishes of the ethnic armed organizations is reached through the peace talks, the military council will have the opportunity to convince other ethnic armed organizations as well.

The junta’s peace talks were attended by ten ethnic armed organizations: seven NCA signatories and three non-NCA signatories on two separate occasions, and five NCA signatories on the third occasion in December.

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