During the seventh round of ceasefire talks between the Union Peacemaking Working Committee and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team, which began on March 17, the discussions mainly focused on how to stop the current fighting as soon as possible, according to participants speaking afterwards in a press conference.
The ceasefire talks are being held at the Myanmar Peace Center in Yangon.
NCCT leader Nai Hong Sar said: “Our discussions mainly focused on ending fighting and minimizing the problems. Our attitude is that [the fighting in the Kokang of Shan State] is a national ethnic issue too.”
He said that problems related to Myanmar’s ethnic people should be solved by dialogue, not by fighting.
Military clashes continue to be reported in the Shan, Kachin and Kayin states.
Speaking on the possible inclusion of the missing Kokang and Wa fighters in the ceasefire process, U Hla Maung Shwe, a senior official of the UPWC said, “After holding discussions and drafting the ceasefire agreement, all groups that should be included in the process should sign the agreement.”
On March 18, the negotiators will discuss forming a committee to monitor any violation of the rules and regulations regarding a ceasefire.
Participants expressed hope that after the lengthy series of debates that a ceasefire agreement will be signed during these ongoing talks.
NCCT member Salai Lian Hmong Sakhong said, “These talks are aimed at being the final talks.”
The delegates said the first day of talks was fruitful, but some points in the draft of the ceasefire agreement need more discussion.
More than 100 points of the draft have already been finalized by both sides. After the sixth round of talks, only eight points remain to be discussed.