The leaders of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) agreed at a meeting held on April 9 to cooperate on drafting the basic principles for building a federal union, creating a Panglong Manual, and security affairs.
Eight signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and non-signatory EAOs held their meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand from April 8-9.
United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) Vice-Chairman Nai Hong Sar said, “We have agreed mainly on the Panglong Manual’s basic principles. Then we discussed security and defence affairs. Also, we had an agreement on basic principles for a federal union and a plan to modify them later.”
Nai Hong Sar told reporters, “We cannot accept DDR (Disarm, Demobilization and Reintegration) only while talking about DDR/SSR (Security Sector Reforms). We need SSR. It means military affairs will play a key role in building a strong federal union. If we cannot trust each other in military affairs there will be a big danger. If we make accommodation easily in this regard how can we counter when the other side use their military in oppressing and defeating us. We need to consider these things,” Nai Hong Sar said.
The leaders of EAOs approved the Panglong Manual paper and Basic Principles for building a Federal Democratic Union at the meeting. The meeting resolutions also mention an agreement on drafting Policy on National Defence and Security, Joint Committee for Budget of Peace Process (JCB), Policies and Programmes on Transitional Matters.
All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) Chairman Than Ke said, “We will build our country with Panglong spirit and the Panglong Agreement together. The opinions of building Federal Democratic Union with equality and self-determination are the unified and common ground among us. These are consensus attitudes and opinions reached at the meeting today,”
“Since security affairs are connected with politics we have to study and discuss this matter in forthcoming meetings. But if we build our federal union based on Mai Ja Yang agreement, there are eight basic principles. We will uphold these principles for actual implementation. We can reach agreement on cooperation and coordination in matters of the peace budget donated by international community between UNFC and NCA signatory EAOs at today’s meeting,” he added.
This summit meeting was attended by over 60 delegates of 14 EAOs from both NCA signatory 8 organizations and 7 non-signatory organizations from UNFC.