The PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) that became the 13th group to sign a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw will be setting up a liaison office in Taunggyi, the Shan State Government seat, before the end of the month, according to its spokesman Khun Thurein.
It will also be the third armed group that has a contact office there. Others are Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
The PNLO, in addition, is the 6th member organization of the 11-member United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) that has concluded a ceasefire agreement. Others are Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and Chin National Front (CNF).
Members that are yet to conclude ceasefire agreements with the Thein Sein government are: Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Arakan National Council (ANC), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and Wa National Organization (WNO).
Some KIO members however say it could also be considered a ceasefire armed organization. “It was the only group that had signed the ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government during the 1989-2009 period,” said a Kachin official who asked not to be named. “What we need is an official endorsement of it from Naypyitaw, not a new agreement.”
The group has been back to armed conflict since 9 June 2011, when the border area under its control was seized by the Burma Army.
The PNLO’s 5 point 25 August 2012 agreement with Taunggyi include ceasefire; setting up liaison offices in Taunggyi, Mawkmai, Hsihseng and Thaton; freedom to travel in government controlled areas without arms; and to fix a date and venue for the Union level peace talks.
The Working Group for Ethnic Coordination (WGEC), set up in June by UNFC and non-UNFC members, have demanded a 4 step peace plan on 7 August:
- A meeting between the government and representatives from all armed movements, both ceasefire and non-ceasefire
- A convention among ethnic movements, both armed and non-armed
- A broad-based national convention made up of delegates from ethnic forces, democratic forces and the government
- Decisions reached at the said national convention to be implemented by all concerned
It has also set 3 conditions:
- Talks outside each side’s sphere of influence
- An international body of observers
- Completion of the process before the general elections in 2015
During his visit to the Thai-Burma border on 4-5 August, Naypyitaw’s key negotiator reportedly told the KNU leaders the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) would be ready to meet the UNFC in December.
The PaO, together with Wa, Palaung aka Ta-ang, Lahu, Danu and Kokang, are the major non-Shan ethnic groups in Shan State.
August 26, The New Light of Myanmar
State Level Peace-Making Group, Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) hold peace talks
NAY PYI TAW - The peace-making group of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) in response to the peace offer extended by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar held talks with the State Level Peace-Making Group at the Taunggyi Hotel in Taunggyi yesterday morning, attended by Vice-Chairman of the Union Level Peace-Making Group U Aung Min and Union Ministers, representatives of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw, Shan State Chief Minister U Sao Aung Myat and state government members, Commander of Eastern Command Maj-Gen Soe Htut and senior military officers, Leader of PNLO Peace-Making Group U Khun Myint Tun, Deputy Leader U Khun Thurein and members.
At the ceremony, Vice-Chairman of the Union Level Peace-Making Group U Aung Min made an opening speech, and Union Minister U Khin Maung Soe, Shan State Chief Minister U Sao Aung Myat, Deputy Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo, Commander of Eastern Command Maj-Gen Soe Htut and representatives of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw clarified the attitude and suggestions over the state level peace-making process.
Next, Leader of PNLO U Khun Myint Tun, U Khun Thurein and U Khun Ti Hsaung clarified the attitude and salient points on the peace-making process.
Afterwards, the State Level Peace-Making Group and peace negotiators from the PNLO discussed the five-point agreement reached in principle by both sides on 27 June 2012.
Today’s talks reached the five-point initial agreement as follows:-
(a) To cease attacks of both sides as of 25 August 2012.
(b) To reside at designated areas already agreed by both sides.
(c) Not to carry arms to other regions except the designated areas.
(d) To establish liaison offices without arms at Taunggyi, Hsihseng, Maukmai already agreed by both sides.
(e) To officially form the representative group to hold talks with the state level peace-making group, and to start the Union level peace talks during a period of three months beginning 25 August 2012.
Representatives from the state level peace-making group and the PNLO singed the agreement.
Next, Union Peace-Making Work Committee and peace representatives from the PNLO held the Union level peace talks and signed the Union level eight-point agreement as follows:-
(a) To make more discussion on ceasefire to be held stronger.
(b) To coordinate matters on designation of code of conduct.
(c) To provide assistance by Union Peace-Making Work Committee for running liaison offices.
(d) To continue to coordinate the location of PNLO/ PNLA troops.
(e) To coordinate matters on cooperation in the fight against narcotic drugs.
(f) To coordinate matters on media.
(g) To coordinate matters on foods, clothing and shelters of troops.
(h) To coordinate matters on public security and basic agriculture.
Afterwards, peace-making groups of both sides exchanged gifts and had documentary photo taken together.-MNA