The 8th Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting on Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement was held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) in Nay Pyi Taw, with an opening speech of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as the center’s Chairperson.
The government’s representatives at the meeting were Deputy Commander in Chief of Defence Services Vice Senior General Soe Win, NRPC’s Vice Chairpersons Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor U Kyaw Tint Swe, Peace Commission Chairman Dr Tin Myo Win and Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo, Union Minister U Min Thu, Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, Lt-Gen Min Naung and Lt-Gen Tin Maung Win, Peace Commission Secretary Retired Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo, Secretary of NRPC Deputy Minister U Khin Maung Tin, Advisor to the Office of the President U Paw Lwin Sein, Director General U Zaw Htay from the Office of the Ministry of the State Counsellor, members of Peace Commission U Hla Maung Shwe and U Moe Zaw Oo.
The Ethnic Armed Organizations were represented by Acting Leader of Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) and Chairman of Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) Sao Yawd Serk, Secretary Sao Sai Nguen, Patron of Pao National Liberation Organization (PNLO) Khun Okka, Vice Chairperson Khun Myint Tun, Vice Chairperson of Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) Khaing Soe Naing Aung, Central Committee Member Daw Saw Mra Yar Zar Lin, Chairperson of All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) U Than Khe, Vice Chairperson U Myo Win, Commander-in-Chief of Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) Saw Mo Shay, Military Operation Unit Head Saw Sein Win, KNU/KNLA-PC General Secretary Dr Naw Kapaw Htoo, Joint Secretary Saw Kyaw Nyunt, KNU’s General Secretary Pado Saw Tado Muh, Central Committee Member Pado Saw Eh K’lu Say, Lahu Democratic Union’s Chairperson Kyar Khun Sar, Secretary Kyar Salmon, Chin National Front Vice Chairperson Dr Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong, General Secretary Htar Lar Hay and New Mon State Party’s Central Committee Member Nai Aung Ma Ngae.
NRPC’s Chairperson and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered an opening speech at the meeting.
(The full speech of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi covered separately in page 5 and 6.)
Next, Deputy Commander in Chief of Defence Services Vice Senior General Soe Win also made a speech, saying, “The 8th JICM is the first coordination meeting in 2020 for the peace-making processes. It is also a dawn of peace, stability and development of State expected by the people. The 7th JICM was held on 28 February 2017, and that the 8th JICM could resume the stalled peace dialogues.
All the peace negotiators are also advised to make negotiations and implement the results for genuine lasting peace and stability as soon as possible.
It is also required to turn out good results from negotiations to avoid a bitter disappointment of people to peace efforts.
The Year 2020 is important for Myanmar in the aspects of politics and peace amidst enormous challenges which could only be overcome by collective strength. Myanmar is on the path of multi-party democracy in own trend. In building a better Union based on democracy and federal system in line with the results from political dialogues, it is required to implement realization of people’s high expectation on politics and military affairs. The earlier we could make good results, the more people would enjoy happiness moving towards a modern State. Therefore, EAOs, the government and the military personnel need to focus on this.
To be able to reduce negotiation period, the demands should be reasonable for the government to fulfill them.
Myanmar has adopted the multi-party democracy system for nine years ago. The system has been 10 years for Myanmar in 2020. Although the time was not very long, the 2008 Constitution has ensured the country to avoid deviation from the democratic path as it guarantees equal rights for every State and Region, or every national people.
Amidst the globalization and IT age, the Constitution would need some amendments as nothing is perfect in the world. Therefore, the Commander in Chief of Defence Services has agreed to amend the charter in line with its Chapter 12.
Peacemaking efforts will be done simultaneously by politically and militarily through UPDJC and JMC. While mutual trust is crucial for this process, worries might turn out hindrances. Commander in Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlan have remined it at the second meeting of Second 21st-Century Panglong Conference pm 24 May 2017. He confirmed the NCA is not an bond to push ethnic armed organizations for abandoning their weapons; the Tatmadaw will keep on moving along NCA path based on ceasefire experiences. Moreover, it is also reaffirmed that the Tatmadaw will never deviate from NCA for negotiations in JICM, JMC, or UPDJC to reach the goal of lasting peace.
Every process needs a good step or foundation.
“A republic based on the democracy and federal system desired by all citizens is to be established in line with results from political dialogue. A genuine, sustainable peace must be negotiated in the reduction period mechanism to produce good results. This is the basic foundation and as long as we assume ourselves as founders, we will begin from this day forth to bring that peace, stability and development as quickly as we can to the citizens of this nation, who are earnestly yearning for fruits of success, through honesty, genuine desire for peace, mutual trust, respect, patience and perseverance. I implore everyone to continue to do so, and conclude my speech here.”
Next, the Chairman of Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) Yawd Serk, who is also Acting Leader of the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), spoke on behalf of all ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
He said: “I thank the negotiating groups and leaders of both sides who have worked hard to make this meeting a reality. Because both sides have met twice in advance to discuss upon the items we will be further discussing in this meeting, I believe the process will be smoother overall.”
“The JICM is the highest mechanism of the NCA and this meeting must make methods to resolve the delays that have been in place for over a year. JICM will discuss and approve of the topics for removing the delays. The path to holding an official negotiation meeting must be opened. Processes must be in place to hold the 4th Session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong in mid 2020.”
“The implementation of the NCA will only be comprehensive if all groups that are meant to be involved are included. That is why we need to think of all possible methods to have them involved. We need to consider current situations from all areas when planning future peace processes. Putting the benefits of the people and the nation first during the beginning of 2020, I believe this JICM meeting will bring good results that the country has been waiting for as a new year gift.”
Next, meeting participants discussed Chapter 3 of the NCA on ceasefire related matters, Chapter 4 on maintaining and strengthening ceasefire, and Chapter 6 on tasks to be implemented during the interim period.
They also discussed on a framework agreement in implementing the NCA, peace processes on all levels in both pre-2020 and post-2020, and Part III of the Union Accord which involves NCA implementation framework agreement as part one, future tasks and implementation on all different levels post-2020 as part two, and fundamental principles agreement as part three.
The meeting then discussed possibility of holding the 4th Session of the UPC – 21st Century Panglong in early 2020, terminologies and definitions in the NCA, promoting EAO inclusiveness in the peace process by continuing to base future tasks on the NCA, and organizing further UPDJC and JMC meetings.
Next, PPST Acting Leader and RCSS Chairman Yawd Serk said this day is a momentous occasion for all ethnic citizens and the peace process as this 8th JICM meeting has given the green light for holding the 4th Session of the Union Peace Conference. He said the responsibility and accountability of negotiating groups of both sides should be commended for working hard to produce this result.
The RCSS Chairman said this meeting has strengthened the existing trust, understanding, acknowledgment and friendly relations between the leaders. He said they will implement the peace process with action and not just in words. He said they are all not just partners of the NCA but also co-owners and thus all sides have shared responsibility to it. He said just as there will be praise for success in the NCA there must be accountability for its delays.
He said this is why they should work hand in hand to complete the implementation of the NCA. He said the negotiating bodies of both sides will have another meeting for future tasks after this meeting. He urged the groups to follow the matters and processes of this meeting and to consider the benefits of everyone and make compromises where necessary.
He said there should be a balance between individual group discussions and collective discussions. He said there should be careful consideration for the results and processes to be cohesive and harmonious with each other. He said that since the decision has been made to implement inclusiveness in the peace process, there should be practical implementation in the field. He urged everyone to overcome difficulties through discussion.
Next, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services (Army) Vice Senior General Soe Win expressed his delight of the successful holding of the 8th NCA implementation JICM coordination meeting. He said there is more delight in the fact that this meeting succeeded with both sides coordinating and approving eight agreements. He said the JICM has reached its 8th meeting and it is a pleasant sight to see both sides smoothly entering negotiations and discussions.
He said this is the capability of officials from all groups involved and attending this meeting, and especially the executive groups whose contributions behind the scenes can be said to have achieved the decisions in this meeting. He thanked the executive groups and secretariat groups.
Vice Senior General Soe Win then urged all secretariat groups and discussion and implementation groups to continue to work hard in future JICM meetings so as to swiftly realize the genuine and lasting peace, stability and national development desired by all ethnic citizens, through foresight and compromise where necessary.
He said the implementation period should reduce the time period mechanism, in the manner he discussed in the opening of the meeting, and everyone should work hard together to produce fruitful results in order to successfully realize the republic based on democracy and federal system desired by everyone.
Next, National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) Chairperson State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered the closing speech. She said her speech is one of delight and gratitude. She said the first fact is that this meeting was a success shows the increased understanding and trust between both sides. She said that just as Vice Senior General Soe Win and RCSS Chairman Yawd Serk have mentioned earlier, this JICM meeting concluded swiftly and smoothly, and everyone’s capability to understand each other had increased. She said this was due to the efforts of the executive groups and office groups and thanked them.
The State Counsellor said the second point is not directly related to the meeting but is something she wanted to say. She said the support given by all citizens and groups of the country in times of national challenges is a huge source of strength, and thus she is grateful to everyone.
She said the third point is the fact that all 10 EAO signatories to the NCA have attended this meeting and organizing that was a huge effort. She said she was honoured and thankful for everyone participating in this meeting in a unified fashion.
It is a good omen that this meeting which is the first of the new year has brought the good results. We believe that this new year is an auspicious one. At the same time, we understand that we need to work hard based on these good results and we are confident that we will see better results in the future. All are requested to put all hands on deck to achieve success.
Afterwards, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice Senior General Soe Win and members, and leaders of the EAOs and representatives posed for the documentary photo.
Following the meeting, Director-General U Zaw Htay and RCSS Secretary U Sai Ngin met the press.
Speaking at the press conference, Director-General U Zaw Htay said the meeting produced good results in a short time bring a good omen for the peace.
He confirmed that eight points were agreed by both sides for implementing the Chapter 3, 4 and 6 of the NCA.
Today’s JICM meeting agreed to seek framework agreement by both sides for NCA implementation, steps for peace process beyond 2020 and step by step implementation, he added.
The leaders also agreed on the type of agreement for Part-3 of the Union Accord. In this meeting, the leaders also decided to hold the fourth session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong during the first four months of 2020, he added.
The leaders also agreed to form a working committee for defining the NCA and agreed to work for inclusiveness based on NCA, said U Zaw Htay.
The last point agreed by the leaders is to hold UPDJC and JMC meetings within eight months after the 8th JICM.
“Today’s meeting achieved success in a short time. Both sides will carry on based on the decisions and agreements reached at the JICM meeting,” said U Zaw Htay.
“The Union Accord is composed of three parts. The part 1 is the framework agreement for implementing the NCA. The framework agreement is aimed at strengthening the ceasefire agreement. The part 2 is the steps for implementing the peace process after 2020. The coming conference would be the last one in the tenure of the current government. After the 2020 general elections, a change for administration will come. There are concerns for peace process at that time. For the concerns, all would seek an agreement for how peace process would be implemented step by step, and the agreement would be included in the part-2. The part 3 is the democracy and basic principles for federal system,’ said U Zaw Htay.
So far, 51 points have been gained for the Union Accord 1 and 2, and they will be discussed. Some basic principles for federal system have also beached between the Government, the Hluttaw and the Tatmadaw. The consensus for the principles for a federal system can be reached through negotiations between both sides. The coming agreements would be included in the part-3, said U Zaw Htay.
He also quoted the speech delivered by the State Counsellor saying that the NRPC and the Peace Commission are working for inclusiveness.
To include the EAOs which have not signed the NCA in the peace process is the issue being discussed by the government and the EAOs, he said.
The two sides are expected to meet again this month, he said, adding that especially, they opened discussed the armed conflicts with four organizations of the northern alliance. To reduce the tension, we need an agreement between both sides. We are working hard to gain that point through the official meeting and unofficial meetings.
“This JICM meeting designated a general period for organizing the 4th Session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong. There are two parts between the government and EAOs – political and military. There are aspects that concern everyone in both parts. We had previously invited EAOs to participate as well. We will invite those groups. Since we have designated the three parts of the Union Accord, we need to negotiate for an agreement for inclusion. The main thing is we will hold the conference. We designated the format of the contract to be signed at the conference. We need to discuss between ourselves for the agreements to be included in the contract. Then we will have plans to hold a conference with UPDJC.”
“The conference is slated for the first four months of 2020 so we will work with the aim of holding it in either January, February, March or April. We held numerous discussions to ensure this JICM went smoothly and agreements were reached.”
Similary, RCSS Secretary Sai Ngern said: “Inclusiveness is important. Ten groups is not enough. We EAOs are working hard to include the other groups as well. Just as the government is working hard on their side, we are also submitting on our side. It is up to the other side whether they are included or not but we are trying our best.”
“JICM has decided on the matters for dicsussion and we have a team for discussion and negotiation as well. So does the government’s side. If all goes well, then the UPDJC could be resumed.”
The 8th JICM meeting commenced in the afternoon and involved UPDJC member Lt-Gen Tin Maung Win, Peace Commission Secretary Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo (Rtd), Advisor of the Office of the President U Paw Lwin Sein, Director-General U Zaw Htay of the Ministry of the State Counsellor’s Office, and Peace Commission members U Hla Maung Shwe and U Moe Zaw Oo.
On the EAO side, attendees included RCSS Secretary Sai Ngern, PNLO Vice Chairman Khun Myint Tun, ALP Executive Member Saw Mra Yazar Lin, ABSDF Vice Chairman U Myo Win, DKBA Commander Saw Sein Win, KNU/KNLA-PC Joint-Secretary Saw Kyaw Nyunt, KNU General-Secretary Pado Saw Tar Do Moo and Executive Committee member Pado Saw L Kalu Say, LDU Secretary Kyar Solomon, CNF Vice Chairman Dr Salai Lian Hmone Sar Kaung and General-Secretary Salai Htalaw Hay, and NMSP Executive Committee member Nai Aung Ma Ngay.