The Tatmadaw, Myanmar's army, will continue participating in peace talks in line with the six-point policy set by the commander-in-chief of defence services, according to Lt-General Myint Soe from the office of the ministry of defence
The Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s army, will continue participating in peace talks in line with the six-point policy set by the commander-in-chief of defence services, according to Lt-General Myint Soe from the office of the ministry of defence
He made the comment at the opening of the latest round of peace talks between the Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC) and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an alliance of armed ethnic groups, at the Myanmar Peace Centre on September 22. The latest round of talks is due to run for several days.
He said soldiers wanted peace the most and that both sides needed to negotiate with a sense of fairness and tolerance. “The meetings are not for disagreements and the army remains committed to the success of peace talks,” he added.
“The army will participate in the peace talks, sticking to the six-point policy of the commander-in-chief. Everyone can reach an agreement on these points,” he said.
“I want to urge both sides to constructively join hands and continue their efforts for peace, stability and development while realising the army’s position,” he said.
The six-point policy of the commander-in-chief is:
to have a keen desire to reach eternal peace,
to keep promises agreed to in peace deals;
to avoid capitalising on the peace agreement,
to avoid placing a heavy burden on local people
to strictly abide by the existing laws, and
to march towards a democratic country in accord with the 2008 Constitution.
The NCCT offered 10-point guidelines for peace talks after a meeting in Laiza, Kachin State and these guidelines are identical to those of the commander-in-chief, Myint Soe said.
At the meeting, Aung Min, the government's chief negotiator, noted that the efforts to secure a historic ceasefire agreement with ethnic armed groups are "at a crucial moment".
"Because of efforts from both sides, we have agreed on many facts... we have made progress never before seen in Myanmar's history," said Aung Min, noting that the government had agreed to accept the concept of federalism in the peace process - a key demand of minority groups.
But he acknowledged that the process has taken much longer than expected.
Ethnically diverse Myanmar has suffered the world's longest-running civil war with multiple insurgencies in its resource-rich borderlands that flared soon after independence from British colonial rule in 1948.
A quasi-civilian regime that took power in 2011 has signed ceasefires with 14 of the 16 major armed ethnic groups, but deals with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in Shan State have so far proved elusive.
The presence of Myanmar's army at the talks is seen as an important step to agreeing a binding deal.
"We soldiers are the one who want peace the most. We are not here to find fault with each other," Myint Soe, told the meeting.