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Latest Nationwide Ceasefire Talks Delayed Once Again

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Latest Nationwide Ceasefire Talks Delayed Once Again

Irrawaddy News, 15 Jan 2014

URL: http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/latest-nationwide-ceasefire-talks-delayed.html
A meeting between a team of negotiators from Burma’s ethnic armed groups and the government’s peace negotiating team, due to be held in the Karen State capital of Hpa-an, has been postponed for the second time, according to an ethnic leader.

The Hpa-an talks are meant to be the next step toward the government’s aim of having a nationwide ceasefire signed with all groups, which has been repeatedly put back.

Nai Hong Sar, the head of the NCCT, told The Irrawaddy that the talks would now take place in February, as ethnic groups are still yet to finalize their collective position.

“We need to take time for more mutual discussion,” said Nai Hong Sar. “Therefore, we decided to move it to next month, tentatively on Feb. 20.”

The decision to postpone comes after the NCCT leader held talks on Jan. 11 with Deputy Minister Aung Thein, who works under President’s Office Minister Aung Min—the government’s chief negotiator.

Members of the government-linked Myanmar Peace Center, led by Aung Thein, were in Chiang Mai, Thailand, last week to talk about a draft agreement that is still being discussed between the ethnic armed groups.

“We are still at the discussion level and will wrap it up on Jan. 16 and 17. Then we’ll take it [the draft] to an ethnic conference in Law Khee La,” said Nai Hong Sar, referring to a base in a Karen National Union controlled area near the Thai-Burmese border, also known as Lay Wah. The meeting between the ethnic groups will take place on Jan. 20, he added.

Nai Hong Sar said both sides had agreed to move the Hpa-an meeting to next month to spend more time on the draft.