Despite agreeing with the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) the New Mon State Party (NMSP) will not sign it on 15 October as the government wants because some ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) have been excluded.
The NMSP and nine other EAOs took the decision not to sign the NCA at the EAO Top Leaders Summit held in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand from 28 to 30 September.
Nai Hongsar, the NMSP vice-chairman, in an interview with IMNA said: “We already accept the NCA text. We have taken time and worked hard up to this step, but we do not want other groups to be left out. [There are also] some groups that are continuing to be involved in clashes [with government troops].”
He said that there is no possibility of a nationwide peace being established if the government does not provide guarantees on political or military matters and continues to attack the EAOs that it has excluded from the NCA.
The six EAOs that have been excluded from signing the NCA by the government are: the Wa National Organisation (WNO), the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), the Arakan National Council (ANC), the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army or Kokang group (MNDAA).
The NMSP, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Kachin Independent Organisation (KIO), and the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) also decided at the Top Leaders Summit that they would not yet sign the NCA.
However, seven EAOS that attended the summit decided to sign the NCA. They are: the Karen National Union (KNU), the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army - Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC), the Chin National Front (CNF), the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO) and the All Burma’s Students Democratic Front (ABSDF).
Nai Htaw Mon, the NMSP chairman who presided over the final day's proceedings at the Top Leaders Summit said in his closing speech to the summit: “We would like the groups that are going to sign the NCA to keep firm on the opportunities that they will be provided with. Some groups should not be left out as the policy of the remaining groups is that the NCA signing is all-inclusive. There are differing views, so time will be needed.”
He also said that though some EAOs are signing the NCA and others are not it should not mean that the EAOs forget their objectives, roots and fellow ethnic people and that it was necessary for them to continue to negotiate and work towards genuine peace.
On 26 September when the government's Union Peace-Making Working Committee (UPWC) met with the NMSP at Myolae Monastery, in Thanbyuzayat Town, Mon State the UPWC’s vice-chairman, Union minister U Aung Min, said that if the NMSP did not sign the NCA, it would only be accepted as an observer rather than a participant in future political talks.