Myanmar president urges for ceasefire accord
Updated: 2015-09-09 15:04
Myanmar's President Thein Sein gives an opening speech at a meeting with ethnic rebel groups to discuss a nationwide ceasefire agreement in Naypyitaw September 9, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
NAY PYI TAW - Myanmar President U Thein Sein on Wednesday urged for signing the almost-finalized nationwide ceasefire accord (NCA) before the end of this month.
U Thein Sein made the call when meeting with nine top leaders of ethnic armed groups in Nay Pyi Taw on the issue of signing.
He told the ethnic leaders to grasp firmly the chance of making ceasefire, saying that the history of several decades witnessed that the issue of ethnic armed groups cannot be settled by using force but through political dialogue as a correct channel to solve the issue and realize peace.
A meeting between the president and 15 invited armed groups on bringing about the signing is underway in the capital for the first time.
U Thein Sein hoped the 15 armed groups will be the first batch to be able to sign the NCA and prompt the start of political dialogue as a follow-up.
The meeting involved leaders of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Kayin National Union (KNU), Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP).
The ethnic leaders expressed willingness to make the joint efforts, however demanding the president to consider all- inclusiveness in the formal signing of the NCA to realize a genuine lasting peace nationwide.
Present at Wednesday's summit meeting were UPWC Vice Chairman U Aung Min, who is also Minister at the President's Office, and KNU Chairman Saw Mutu Sae Po among others.
In the 9th round of peace talks in Yangon between the government's Union Peace Making Work Committee (UPWC) and the Senior Delegation (SD) of the ethnic armed groups, which ended on Aug. 6, the two sides were able to agree on the draft NCA, except the matter of inviting all other armed groups to take part in the signing of the peace deal.
The government side reiterated its policy of initially signing the deal alongside the 15 ethnic armed groups, with which it has already struck bilateral peace agreements.
However, the ethnic side insisted that all ethnic groups be included in the NCA signing that involves Kokang army, Ta'aung National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA) which are still fighting with the government.
The draft NCA was preliminarily signed between the government's UPWC and the ethnic groups' Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) in late March after conclusion of more than one year's negotiation on the NCA.