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Myanmar Buddhism and State Power
Myanmar's recent May 24-29, 2017 International Peacemaking Summit has made good headway. Naypyitaw was visited by more groups than anticipated after a China negotiated the night before the rally. At the last evening they reached agreement on 37 "principles" for a prospective peacemaking agreement, among them a pivotal rule that the state will be a federation based state.
But despite these moves, basic issues still need to be clarified as to where the peacemaking processes are headed and how many arms groups are prepared to take part in them. Up until a few workdays before the meeting, the momentum seemed much gloomier. It was postponed for three month as the administration fought to persuade more gunmen to join the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
Few of the sub-national preparation dialogs that had been scheduled had been conducted, others - with the participation of the Shan and Rakhine groups - had been obstructed by the agencies, further increasing the frustrations. The mighty United Wa State Party (UWSP) also called a April summits meeting of seven northeastern groups of warriors.
Negotiating the text of the National Cease-fire Treaty - an accords ratified in 2015 by eight arms groups and the federal administration that opened the way for policy discussions - they announced a new coalition, the Federal Negotiation and Consultation Committee (FPNCC, "Wa-Alliance"). An impasse seemed unavoidable as the regime and the army insisted that only by signature of the present cease-fire treaty can armoured groups join the pacification processes.
Following compromises by the Myanmar administration and the Myanmar army, a representative of the seven northeastern armored groups was persuaded by a representative of China to participate in the meeting. Fifteen out of 21 gunmen were present at the opening - the eight who sign the cease-fire and the seven in the new Wa coalition - a symbolic victory for the state.
This could also open up new ways of communicating with groups in the Wa-Allianz. Wa-Allianz groups participated in the opening meeting and supper, but were not allowed to attend the meetings and came back to Kunming two working nights before the end of the meeting. You are still not prepared to ratify the present cease-fire treaty and the authorities are still not prepared to overhaul it.
There is no idea of how much all sides want to make compromises to involve these groups in the peacemaking processes. Talks with the armoured groups that are signatories to the cease-fire agreements have also been anything but trouble-free. Important "principles" with regard to self-determination and the ability for states to have their own constitution within a prospective federation could not be established, as groups refuse to accept any opportunity for secession in return.
For a long time, state constitution has been a requirement of indigenous peoples and no group wants to split off, but this omission to reach an agreeable consensus showed shortcomings in the trial and a dearth of confidence. China has played an important part in this development with its last-minute operation.
However, the scale of their engagement is still uncertain and their interests do not necessarily coincide with those of a strong peacemaking mechanism. However, if China is committed to achieving a lasting international peaceful settlement at its borders, it can use its significant leveraging effect, as well as its elaborate patience of negotiation and negotiation, to persuade all sides to reach compromises.
Over the period 2011-2013, the former Myanmar administration concluded a set of cease-fire agreements with fourteen arms groups. A great deal of positivism prevailed on 31 March 2015, when the German authorities and the negotiation groups initiated the text of a Nationwide Ceasefire Arrangement (NCA) to stop the fighting and prepare the ground for a settlement that would end the war.
But the trial came to a halt and only eight groups of arms were signing the treaty at a signing ceremonies on 15 October 2015. Among the military-backed groups that have ratified the national cease-fire are the mighty Karen National Union (KNU) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) near the Thai frontier. Unsignatories included heavily militarised groups near the China frontier, such as the mighty Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), which since the failure of its 2011 cease-fire has been regularly engaging intensively with junta leaders, and the United Wa State Party (UWSP), Myanmar's biggest ethnically oriented armoured group with perhaps 30,000 well-trained and well-armed military personnel, whose 1989 cease-fire was largely respected.
The conclusion of the countrywide cease-fire was the first stage in a long and complex trial of what was necessary for a full and inclusive CPA. Much of the most demanding questions - which included what kind of federation could be, how the revenues could be shared and whether the unarmed groups' further progress would involve their involvement in the army - have been moved to the stage of policy dialog.
It was intended to be a sequence of "Union peace conferences". During its mandate, the former administration did not have enough elapsed to initiate a sensible policy dialog, so that from 12 to 16 January 2016, in the lukewarm inter-election and handover of control, it hosted the Union's first emblematic peace conference.
Aim was to start the negotiation in accordance with the countrywide cease-fire agreement's challenging policy roadmap. Gun men who did not ratify the treaty were asked as monitors, but almost all refused. As Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) had previously distanced itself from the peacemaking processes, it was important that it gave an opening address.
Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto Myanmar head of state, has fulfilled herself and the NLD's commitment to give priority to the peacemaking processes. Speaking in her first great address, a New Year's Eve Embassy of Myanmar to the country on April 18, 2016, she said the Chinese authorities would try to involve the rest of the militarized groups in the cease-fire by declaring that "through the holding of peacemaking meetings, we will remain able to establish a true, federated democracy".
It made great changes to the peacemaking structure and indicated that it would manage the trial in person. Panglong (Panglong-21) - a link to the Panglong Conference before the 1947 conference, called by her fathers Aung San, the heroine of freedom. But the Panglong Accord was not a peacemaking treaty - there was no uprising - but an arrangement of some ethnical areas (Shan, Kachin and Chin) to join an autonomous Burma in exchange for the promise of full self-government in domestic management and equitable participation in the country's riches.
After a ten-year probationary phase, Shan and Kayah States were given the right to separate. Panglong 21's first meeting took place in Naypyitaw from 31 August to 3 September 2016. Delegates from almost all gun groups were present. But they were called because the meeting was only a token start to the new government's peacemaking processes and not a platform for substantial dialogues or negotiation.
After the first Panglong 21 meeting, the government's primary concern was to persuade non-signatories, in particular members of the United Nations Federal Council (UNFC), to ratify the cease-fire-treaty. Founded in 2011 as an association of eleven gunmen, the UNFC had become the most important non- undersigned groupfederation.
The first Panglong 21 meeting was followed by a range of get-togethers between the UNFC and the UNFC negotiating parties. Talks centred on the UNFC's nine terms for the signature of the cease-fire deal, including the statement by the army on a national cease-fire within 24 hrs of agreeing on the nine points, the obligation to create a federation with full safeguards for equity and self-determination, involvement in overseeing the cease-fire internationally, and an autonomous and in part intergovernmental dispute settlement group.
In the aftermath of a March 1 Naypyitaw summit, the US administration and the UNFC delegations said that they had achieved a somewhat blurred and ad referenda "agreement in principle" on the nine points. The Kachin Independence Organisation - the Chairman of the UNFC - did not participate in the summit, however, and it became clear that a mutually satisfying settlement had not been achieved.
At the occasion of the government's first year of existence on 30 March, the federal and state governments published a statement in which they announced that five UNFC members would be signing the cease-fire-treaty. On the next morning, the five groups said they had not determined whether to subscribe, which embarrassed the regime, which was obviously overzealous to present good tidings for its centenary.
Meanwhile, a great reorientation took place, which transformed the military opposition's biological scene. The United Wa State Party (UWSP) held a summits meeting of seven non-signatory northeastern groups at its head office in Pangsang (Pangkham) on the China frontier on 22 and 24 February. These groups made a common declaration calling for the immediate withdrawal of the December 2016 Shan State Parliament ruling to label three of them "terrorist organisations", the immediate halt of the offensive by governing troops in ethnical areas and the involvement of all civilian groups in the peacemaking proces.
It also created a new armoured group coalition and a "political negotiating committee" (later re-named FPNCC and here Wa -Alliance) and adopted together a UWSP prepared peacemaking doc. The Council asked for a new cease-fire deal as a foundation for a UN-China negotiated peacemaking initiative and expressed its strong commitment to China's Belt and Road initiative with safeguards for China's military operations in the group' s area.
On 15 and 19 April, the UWSP held a follow-up meeting in which the heads of the same seven groups of arms participated. They issued a closing declaration announcing the creation of the FPNCC or Wa-Allianz and members of their negotiating teams and approved a "constructive document" as a foundation for further talks with the state.
These seven also concurred that other groups that accept this policy document could join the Wa-Allianz and that the members would only enter into negotiations with the regime..... The United Wa State Party seems to have been urged to take this leading part because it is feeling under increasing threat from armed forces' attempts to surround its area.
This meeting signaled a courageous and unanticipated step by the USPSP to play a pivotal part in the peacemaking processes, from which it had previously largely refrained. Since a cease-fire was agreed in 1989 (confirmed in 2011), the USP has not had any serious conflicts with the state. They seem to have been urged to take this leading position because they feel themselves under increasing threat from armed forces' attempts to surround their area.
A further cause for alarm could be the present government's failing to confirm the declared readiness of its forerunner to recognize the UWSP's exceptional statute by permitting it to pursue a specific arrangement outside the national cease-fire frame. Quite the opposite, the UWSP was insisting that the UWSP should ratify the countrywide cease-fire treaty and called on Beijing to exert it.
This new Wa pact replaced the UNFC, which for a long time was the most important government of non-signatories. While accepting in principal the countrywide cease-fire arrangement - it was part of the long development talks and initialled the definitive text in 2015 - the UNFC took the view that its members would not subscribe without extra safeguards, as outlined in the nine points.
However, two key members - the KIO under the chairmanship of the UNFC and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) - had now acceded to the Wa coalition, whose stance is that the countrywide cease-fire treaty must be superseded or at least overhauled. Momentum was clearly with the Wa-Allianz, but the regime, which did not want to give this new, harder group any credentials, refused to see her.
Whilst these policy trends unfolded, the local economic climate remains fragile. That has had a detrimental effect on the peacemaking processes, whose momentum has led to increased tension and atrocities. This last example came on September 28, 2016, when the UWSP, the most potent militarized ethnical group, sent several hundred forces to take three stations of another militarized group, the National Democratic Alliance Army or NDAA (Mongla Group), one of its long-standing and ally.
This move was apparently triggered by concern that the Mongla Group, which had participated in the first Panglong 21 meeting, was approaching the regime and was considering the signature of the CPA. The UWSP fears that the Myanmar Army would try to surround its territories or increase force relief, as the UWSP's troops were also operating on the other two flank.
Others in the north of Shan State came under increasing political pressures from goverment troops. On 20 November 2016, four groups of soldiers started common assaults on strategic and commercial objectives, among them uncommon ones on the city. The groups named themselves the "Northern Alliance", and one of their goals was the city of Muse, an important trading gate with China.
Armour-laid blockades and truck raids blocked the Lashio Museum Street, Myanmar's major trading area. Thereupon, the Covenant crossed another strategically important frontier city, Mongko, and held it for several nights. In Kunming on the 3-4 December, China tried to negotiate and brought together the Myanmar government's heads of negotiation for a peaceful settlement with the Northern alliances and the UWSP.
Efforts diverged when the agents, who were all in the same hotels, could not even reach agreement on the arrangements for the meetings. November's raids led to large offensive by the Burmese army in the north Shan state. These include an ongoing attack on the KIO's stategic location on Gidon Mountain, overrun by Myanmar's army on December 17 to divide the group's territories in two.
At the beginning of January, the army confiscated the bataillon headquarter and several other KIO base. As the Northern Alliance emerged and the November 20 attack began fighting the army in more built-up areas, the Northern Alliance's capacity to do damage to the economy has been underlined. It was also a symbolic gesture, a hug of strategy by the KIO of the three other groups of the Northern Alliance that the regime had expelled from the alliance.
It is important because the KIO and other groups that did not sign the national cease-fire were willing to participate in the August 2016 August 2016 Peacemaking Summit, where commitment with the regime took precedence over commitment with the expelled groups. Earlier, the KIO had stressed the need for the peacemaking processes to involve all groups.
Thus, the formation of the Northern Alliance was a signal that some members of the KIO leaders wanted to dissociate themselves from the UNFC and approach the other groups in the northeast - for a mix of strategic considerations (all these groups have intersecting areas and local cooperation) and policy considerations (some UNFC members were willing to subscribe to the national cease-fire).
Fights also broke out in the Kokang area of Shan State when the Northern Alliance (in this case mainly the Kokang Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army or MNDAA) assaulted army and policing stations around the capital Laukkai on March 6, 2017 and then stepped into the city to attack competing state-sponsored MNDAA factions' hostels and canteen.
Recently, on June 3, federal and KIO conquered a KIO field office near the city of Tanai in the state of Kachin. At the 5th of June a army chopper drop flyers telling local populations in the area where there are many goldmines and ambers that the army would carry out evacuation missions and they should depart by the 15th or be considered "cooperating with KIO terrorists".
At the same time as its attempts to persuade more armoured groups to ratify the cease-fire accord and to take part in the second Panglong 21 meeting, the authorities are embarking on a concurrent policy exercise under the national cease-fire alliance. It will include a number of sub-national consultation to consider suggestions to be approved by the Panglong 21 meeting, which will eventually be part of a global peacemaking deal.
There are three types of dialogue: ethnically (i.e. with a specific ethnical group), regionally (i.e. for a specific state or region) and thematically (for a specific topic at country level). Bureaucracies declined to allow ethnical dialogs in the states of Rakhine and Shan. The Shan State Restoration Council (RCSS) wanted to keep it in the state capitol Taunggyi or the historical city of Panglong, while the army was in a more secluded and inaccessible area under the control of the RCSS. In Shan the Shan state was not able to decide on the area.
Outcomes of the seven Dialogue meetings were summarized - not always a very open procedure, according to some respondents - and then presented to the Union Peace Dialogue Commission (UPDJC) through its five Working Sessions on Policy, Economic Policy, Safety, Security, Welfare and Agriculture/Environment. Under the chairmanship of Suu Kyi, the JCC, made up of members of the administration, legislative, military, non-governmental, non-governmental, political party and civilian groups, approved them at a session on May 12 and presented them to the COP.
A number of respondents mentioned inadequate preparations, a failure of expertise in the working councils and a failure of some working councils to negotiate and understand the procedures of the working-point. This resulted in a series of 41 "principles", many of which said they constituted a least shared denominator rather than the true ambitions of minorities' nationalities.
There were the main issues in the policy area that would trigger a tragic discussion within the IGC itself (see section IV.C below). On 24 April 2017, the Joint implementation Coordination Meeting, the supreme national committee for implementing the cease-fire, held in Naypyitaw. The visit was made by Suu Kyi, assistant commander-in-chief and teamleader.
Panglong 21 has been scheduled for 24 and 28 May (later to 29 May). It was the first such gathering under the present administration. The national cease-fire groups were called in as monitors, but most were not prepared to agree to such a statute, nor the fact that three groups were not called.
At the 28th of April, the UNFC members groups were asked to participate when they signed a "commitment" to subsequently conclude the national cease-fire. The Wa-Allianz made a declaration on 17 May in which it agreed to participate as a block of all seven members and not as an ad-hoc group. This seemed unlikely, as three of its members had not been called.
Before the Panglong 21 meeting, it seemed that only the national cease-fire signers would participate - eight out of 21 groups of people. The RCSS, one of the eight, made a declaration that it would not be signing an accord at the meeting because it had been prevented from conducting the preliminary interethnic dialog in its privileged place in Shan State.
So it became clear that the summit - Suu Kyi's petition - was headed for an awkward collapse. Suu Kyi and China's Xi Yinping meet on 16 May after the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, the US presidency promised China's continued commitment to the peacemaking processes. China's Asia Minister (who is de facto only involved with Myanmar) and Suu Kyi visited Naypyitaw on May 22.
As a result of these gatherings, six Wa-Allianz gunmen assembled in Kunming, China, were flying to Naypyitaw on board a plane on the 23rd of May, before the Panglong 21 opening the next mornings. First and foremost, this was a means of rescuing the face, but it did allow the groups to present (but not to give verbal presentations).
Wa-Allianz provided three political papers, which were analyzed in Section IV.D below. That was a great admission, especially from the army, which had previously been insisting on the need for desarmament (or at least a genuine obligation to do so) as a condition for the participation of these groups in the peacemaking processes. They had not participated in either of the two preceding CPAs.
The question had become a deal-breaker for the remaining Wa-Allianz, and it seems that the commander-in-chief did not want to be blamed for an undeniable fail. Suu Kyi would be meeting with the seven members of the Wa-Allianz, albeit not as a block to deny the new group some kind of justification.
On May 26, Suu Kyi had a luncheon with the KIO delegate (Vice President N'Ban La) together with his woman and a KIO Major, followed by two independent gatherings with other members of the Alliances. Meanwhile, the UNFC met urgently on 23 May in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to determine whether it would like to participate in the IGC with the "special guest" designation provided by the Thai state.
The UNFC members consented not to participate in Panglong-21, whereupon N'Ban La prematurely exited the meet without saying that his reasons were the trip to Naypyitaw for the event. On 24 May, the second Panglong 21 Summit was opened with fifteen groups of soldiers (the eight parties to the cease-fire treaty as members and the seven members of the Wa-Allianz as" special invitees").
Suu Kyi said that "peace and security will allow our people to realize their full strength as a wealthy democracy and federation " and noted that "almost everyone agrees that the solution of our country's long-running hostilities is a federation that is accepted by all" - a kind of unprecedented policy agreement that would have been inconceivable before the shift from junior to civil government six years ago.
It made it clear that talks with non-signatory arms groups would be continued in order to include them in the deal. Commander General Min Aung Hlaing's truce embassy was more blunt: "Tatmadaw's (military) position on the peacemaking is to be on the NCA track, which is our country's peacemaking policy.
The refusal to join the cease-fire means the refusal of a "Union founded on freedom, democratisation and federalism" and the seizure of authority and secession from the Union through arm struggle", he cautioned. This was a strong opposition to the Wa Alliance's call for the cease-fire treaty to be replaced or revised.
His use of the term federation, however, was significant - although the army had basically agreed, the general had not used the term at the last meeting, but had emphasized "peace and unity". KNU President General Mutu Say Poe, who spoke on behalf of the people of the region, also pointed out that "it is important that we do not abandon anyone in this peacemaking process" and called on the parties to involve "all important actors, especially non-signatories to the cease-fire agreement".
Criticizing "result-oriented and rigidly timed negotiations", he referred to the half-yearly timetable for peacemaking meetings, which can restrict the necessary degree of flexibilty to overcoming barriers. In particular, General Mutu criticized the way of conducting sub-national policy dialogue, stating that dialogue should be conducted in all areas of ethnicity and that it would undermine the process of country-building in a rash or emblematic way.
They focused on the 41 policy, economical, social and ecological "principles" that had been adopted on 12 May in the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) (in the fifth area, safety, no basic agreement was reached). Policy was the most important and controversial. Conversations almost failed due to a loss of confidence, faint preparations and bad moderation of the discussion at the meeting.
However, the conversations almost failed due to a loss of confidence, faint preparations and bad moderation of the discussion at the meeting. A number of militarized group and partisan allies did not embrace the non-secession clauses because they thought they were degrading; others also claimed that they were already embraced by their constitutional acceptation of the constitutional sin qa non "three causes" of the army, of which a "non-disintegration of the Union" was.
In addition, the German authorities decided to rename the peacemaking processes "21st Century Panglong". The reference to the 1947 Panglong Summit made it hard for some representatives to agree to an express refusal of decession accorded to Shan State in the initial Panglong Treaty (and later also to Kayah State in the 1947 Constitution).
One large Shan Army Group (RCSS) and one Shan Nationalities League for Democracy were particularly worried about giving up this right. Since there was no sub-national sub-national inter-Shan dialog before the event, these two players felt they had no authority to conclude them. Things worsened during a UPDJC rendezvous on 28 May, the last but one date of the convention.
One of the military's positions, fully supported by the administration, was that the principle of self-determination, the state constitution and non-secession were a "package deal" - everything must be acceptable, or nobody can be. Gunmen felt attacked. Eventually, a member of the gunmen said that night that their management committee had chosen not to be able to endorse anything.
It was allegedly angry with the army and its leader said that if the members of the group were not willing to accept anything, there was no point in pursuing either the dialogue or the negotiation for it. A number of people felt that the trial was on the brink of breakdown. At a brief pause, the gunmen again held consultations and proposed a trade-off that could have rescued the peacemaking process: one of them would have signed the treaty on everyone's account and not all groups separately.
On the following morning, 29 May, the meeting was led by an officer of the group. These 37 outlines were presented to the plenum by members of the UDJC and supported by one member from each interest group (government, legislative, army, armed groups and various factions). Although this met the objective of enforcing the principals and enabling the administration to achieve a success, some representatives of militarized groups and politicians were angry that the meeting had just put a stamp on the principals, in contradiction with the procedure according to which arrangements called for certain levels of concord.
The KNU Chairman's opening speech stated that the peacemaking processes were becoming more and more one-sided and focused on pressing for the common dialogues they had chosen. Seven Wa factions participating in the opening meeting were not allowed to attend the following meetings.
Instead, they conducted a string of simultaneous talks with the government's and Suu Kyi's leaders for negotiating a peaceful settlement, and the administration declined to take the mission as a rally. Groups abandoned Naypyitaw on 27 May, two day before the end of the meeting, after submitting the following three positions to the government:
Peace agreements between the provinces and the federal government and cease-fire agreements at national level between the government of the Republic of Myanmar and all ethnic revolutionary forces (undated). It is the Wa Alliance's proposal for an alternate to the national cease-fire treaty already made available to the Myanmar armed forces on March 20, 2017.
Although it has structural and linguistic resemblances to the national cease-fire, its extent and details go far beyond that, particularly on issues such as the delimitation of territories and the division of powers. There has been a public rejection by the authorities and the armed forces of any amendment or substitution of the present covenant.
General principles and the specific proposal of revolutionary armed organizations of all nationalities in political negotiations (FPNCC, 19 April 2017). It is broadly the same as the United Wa State Party (UWSP) paper published on 13 August 2016, which was presented to the first Panglong 21 meeting at the end of this months.
She is proposing a high level of civic independence for ethnical states that go beyond the federalist system and provide for a number of semi-independent "nations" that transfer very little of their sovereignty to the CDU. Consultation and negotiations with the Government of Myanmar on the revision of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (United Wa Central Committee, 30 April 2017).
The document was presented to the regional press at the May 24 meeting. She describes in detail a set of clandestine talks between the UWSP and the U.S.P.S. administration and the army in March and April 2017, about which almost nothing was known so far. This last section makes it clear that the UWSP had chosen to disclose the particulars of the allegedly privileged dialog because they felt they were being mistreated. The section is entitled: "The Myanmar administration openly humiliates the Wa state's attempts to overcome the present stalemate in the peacemaking process".
In the third paper, the UWSP and its associate, the Mongla Group, were under renewed "soft and hard" pressures from both the Myanmar and Chinese governments to endorse the countrywide cease-fire. The UWSP reported in early March 2017 that it notified the government's leaders in negotiating for a peaceful settlement that it was prepared to debate changes to the cease-fire accord, but the administration demanded that further discussions should be conducted directly with the army.
By and large, this claim seems to be true that the government's leaders for negotiating international truce have withdrawn from talks with the country's biggest gun group and are now in the lead of a great coalition. The document states that the army approved changes, but demanded that they be kept to a minimum, as the national cease-fire had already been initialled with eight arms groups and the national cease-fire agreement ("Nationwide Cezefire Agreement ") remains intact.
UWSP did not agree to either of these points and drew up a revised arrangement that "takes into account the interests of all concerned " and "maximally preserves the NCA's initial content" (as mentioned above, much has indeed been amended or added). It then quotes several comments made publicly by civil servants and the army, which it considered a "humiliating" open refusal of his work.
In May 2017, the May 2017 Peacemaking Summit prevented an awkward breakdown. However, the road to the next meeting, which is due to take place before the end of 2017, is highly onerous. Involve more gunmen in the trial. That will be very challenging and will involve negotiation on two front lines, with the United Nations Federal Council (UNFC) and with the north-eastern groups in the newer Wa-Federation.
There is a need for the government's leaders in negotiating for a peaceful settlement to make a significant commitment to understanding what could lead these groups to conclude the cease-fire-treaty. Up to now, the regime and the army have not been prepared to recognise the Wa Alliance's legality, let alone to deal with them as a group. This could be changing, but the negotiation procedure seems lengthy and difficult.
Preparation of the contents for the next meeting. There are many sub-national dialogs still outstanding and will have to take place in the next few of these. In order to agree on the main policy fundamentals of self-determination and the constitution, it is necessary for the leaders of the negotiations to find a way to resolve the question of non-secession. You will also need to adopt a number of other basic issues to be debated at the next meeting.
There is also the risk of acting too quickly if most arms groups are not involved in the trial, which undermines the credibility of an accord. Improve the nationwide application of the ceasefire accord. Sometimes the eight groups of signers felt overwhelmed, with the emphasis on how to persuade non-signatories to do so. There are two drawbacks: it is weakening relationships with these arms groups and societies, which can have a negative effect on the one area of the land (the south-east) where most of the peacemaking has taken place.
They also undermine the perceptions of the advantages of the national cease-fire and reduce the incentive for other groups to subscribe to the cease-fire. As the Joint Supervisory Committee in charge of implementing the armistice agreement's defence and civil defence measures, it is extending its work to the town. The cease-fire rules for transitional regimes - i.e. areas partially or fully controlled by pre-establishment of a full- or partially controlled peacemaking arrangement - are also progressing after they have been blocked for some while.
This area ( "on which the army previously seemed ambivalent") was emphasized as important by the commander-in-chief. Overall, the current government's approach to the peacemaking processes is still more one-sided and less consultation than its forerunner, which worries many actors, especially those in war. There has been particular cause for alarm at the converging opinions and often joint standpoints of the Suu Kyi administration and the army.
Thus, the working groups on specific topics held only nine meetings during the meeting, far too little to deal with the many questions raised. It also raises doubts about the credentials of conferences' decision-making. It defines the form of a state that will apply to the whole state.
Governments and the army, certain groups with arms and certain party politicians who won places in the last elections occupy special posts. Although other armoured groups are involved in the trial, areas without conflicts are generally under-represented. Under-represented are also civic players who were only invited the previous evening of the meeting.
They are particularly marginalized among young people; the government's leaders for negotiating for a peaceful settlement have been far less committed than in the past. Just 20 percent of the participants at the meeting were female, despite an agreement on a 30 percent attendance threshold, although this represents a small increase over the 15 percent attendance at the last meeting.
In the end, the peacemaking processes depend to a large extent on China. In order to really foster a lasting truce at its borders, it would have to use its significant influence and diplomatic sophistication to persuade all sides to make genuine trade-offs. Obviously, Myanmar is also at risk from China's interventions, which the various electoral districts should be conscious of: as a mighty neighbor, it obviously has at its disposal various interests, whether they are of a policy, a strategy or an economy, which may not be in the best interests of the peacemaking proces.
In spite of the progress made in the last round of negotiations, the road is still very challenging. There is only a small percentage of those with guns in the trial and it will be hard to get the others on board. At the May meeting, some important rules were agreed, but an important trade-off was blocked: self-determination in exchange for non-secession.
Conferences were enforced without discussion or voting in plenum, so some were dissatisfied with them. In Myanmar, public failure of the peacemaking negotiations was barely prevented. However, further advances will demand the commitment, negotiations and compromises of the federal and state governments and the army to double. Weaponised groups outside the present trial must make every effort to achieve their aspiration for self-determination.
We have three major armies of gunmen: the undersigned NCA, through a Peace Process Steering Team; (2) the Federal Council of the United Nations, long the major non-signatory group but recently overshadowed by a new UWSP-led group; (3) the Fed.
The NSCN-K is not a member of an alliance.) There is also a Northern Allliance, which consists of KIO, TNLA, MNDAA and AA.