UN special adviser welcomes ceasefire agreement draft

31 March 2015
UN special adviser welcomes ceasefire agreement draft
Mr Vijay Nambiar, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, observes peace talks between the Myanmar government’s peace delegation and the Kachin Independence Organization in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina on May 28, 2013. Photo: Mizzima

The Special Adviser on Myanmar to the UN Secretary-General Mr Vijay Nambiar has welcomed the “milestone” agreement on text for the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement drawn up by the Union Peace Working Committee and Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team for Myanmar on March 31.
President U Thein Sein attended the ceremonial signing of a draft ceasefire accord between the government and ethnic rebel groups on March 31 at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon, the culmination of seven sessions of negotiations held since 2013. The agreement is aimed at ending more than 65 years of armed conflict in the country.
The agreement sits ready to be ratified and respected and could allow for political negotiations between the government and the ethnic armed groups who have been fighting for autonomy.
The step forward comes at a time when conflicts between government troops and ethnic groups are still breaking out, primarily in the Shan and Kachin states.
The following is the statement on behalf of Special Adviser Mr Vijay Nambiar:
Today, on the 31st of March 2015, after more than a year of negotiations, the Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC) and Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) have agreed on the text of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) for Myanmar. For the government of Myanmar and 16 Ethnic Armed Groups to reach a ceasefire agreement after more than sixty years of conflict is a historic and significant achievement. The United Nations welcomes this milestone in Myanmar's history, and congratulates President U Thein Sein and his negotiators as well as leaders of the Ethnic Armed Organizations and the NCCT.
As Observers to the process alongside China, the United Nations, through the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, have followed the proceedings closely and through difficult as well as lighter moments. Throughout, we have been deeply impressed by the hard work, true determination, genuine commitment and goodwill shown by the UPWC and NCCT. We are deeply honored and humbled to have been invited to observe the parties through their historic deliberations.
The signing of an NCA is a first step towards a larger dialogue for settling the political and military issues that will pave the way for an inclusive and harmonious future for Myanmar. However it is a crucial first stage that must be crossed before embarking on the next chapter.
Myanmar is still in a nascent stage of its transition. Today's agreement is a signal that new levels of trust, confidence and cooperation are possible between former enemies and that the seeds of change in Myanmar are beginning to sprout. 
Today's achievement is also remarkable and unusual as a process completely initiated and executed by national stakeholders. While many concerns and difficulties will remain on the ground in Myanmar, this is a day to celebrate as a great achievement and as one that provides a solid basis from which to continue the hard work that will be necessary to achieve a genuine and lasting peace in the country. The United Nations will continue to support and work with the peoples of Myanmar.