The leaders of eight ethnic armed groups who signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with Myanmar’s central government last November, held a summit in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai last week from March 24 to 26.
The eight ethnic armed groups discussed their preparations for the national level political dialogue with the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) government. Also discussed were ways these groups can cooperate with the remaining ethnic armed groups that have not signed the NCA
“We have formed a coordinating team to jointly resolve emergency issues, but this team does not cover everything. The steering committee was formed to become more effective [than the coordinating team]. We have also prepared and discussed how to carry out the national-level political dialogue, which is mentioned in the NCA,” explained Colonel Sai Hla, a spokesperson for the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA). Colonel Sai Hla attended the summit as did the leader of the RCSS/SSA, Colonel Yawd Serk.
Colonel Sai Hla added that a committee has also been formed to engage with ethnic armed groups that have not signed the NCA. On March 27 this committee met with the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which comprises many non-NCA signatories.
The second summit of the NCA signatories was attended by the Karen National Union (KNU), the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Party-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC), the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), the Chin National Front (CNF), the PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO), the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).