There have been a lot of controversy over the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement between ethnic armed organizations involved in Spring Revolution and other EAOs that joined peace talks of the military council.
Recently, the KNU officially said that NCA has dissolved as the military council violated the terms of agreement, and that it is no more valid.
This interview with Colonel Khun Okka, the patron of Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), is bout their view on NCA, whether the military abides by the terms of NCA, and provisions in NCA.
TLT: KNU has remarked that the military violated terms of NCA, and that there is no reason to abide by it. What is your view on it?
Khun Okka: NCA has not dissolved. It was approved by the Hluttaw, and it is still an official political document. It cannot be terminated by any organization or any individual. It is just politically exploiting NCA. This view is not legally right. And it is just an informal remark that cannot affect NCA. It remains official, and no need to say details on it.
TLT: The terms of NCA include protecting civilians. But these are now opposed to the situations on the ground. What is your remark on this?
Khun Okka: Tatmadaw is trying for fully control across the country, and that I don’t want to make the remark on this. However, Loilin and Taunggyi district, covering about six townships, in southern Shan state, have not seen such problems. In addition to territory included in NCA, non-signatory Pa-O region has not suffered conflicts. I have no comment on the situations in other areas of the country.
TLT: What are terms of agreement in NCA regarding free mobilization of armed groups?
Khun Okka: All the signatories, including Tatmadaw column, need to inform ahead of their mobilization in a control area of armed group. This agreement is concerned with all the signatories. However, no signatories, including the military, strictly follow this rule. Sometimes, minor conflicts occurred due to controversy in territory. Actually, it is not a lasting dispute, and it can be negotiated.
TLT: Mobilization of troops in fully uniform with equipment in the control area of other’s organization. What is your view on it?
Khun Okka: The control area is quite controversial. Some thought that they can enter any controlled area. Actually, bilateral agreements have been made to designate area of ceasefire among state governments. These rules need to be followed. There are some controversies outside these areas. The organizations which did not make territorial agreement may cause controversies.
TLT: Are you patrolling for security in your control area? If so, how are you doing? What are agreements with Tatmadaw in doing so?
Khun Okka: Of course. We did it at the rims of our control area. We need to know activities of unknown armed groups in the designated areas. If they can cause burden to people, we intervene to stop it. We patrol in our control area to protect people. It is also a term in NCA.