YANGON, Mar 29 – Myanmar President Thein Sein Saturday urged political parties to cooperate in moving forward the country’s peace process to achieve the common goal of stability, peace and unity.
In a meeting with representatives of 63 registered political parties in the Parliament building here, Thein Sein said a nationwide ceasefire agreement is the priority for boosting the peace process which is based on political dialogue between the government and ethnic armed groups, according to Xinhua.
He hoped the political dialogue would be held with the full participation of the government, ethnic armed groups, political parties and parliamentarians, among others.
The political dialogue is open for discussing all crucial matters of the country, including constitutional reforms, except those that may harm the nation’s sovereignty and lead to secession of the country, he said.
The government earlier expected that the upcoming peace talks could be held in Hpa-an in Kayin state in April leading to a possible signing of the nationwide ceasefire accord.
The government Union Peace-Making Work Committee and the National Ceasefire Coordination Team representing ethnic armed groups agreed March 10 this year to jointly draft a single text document for the nationwide ceasefire proposal ahead of the Hpa-an peace talks.
The leaders of 17 ethnic armed groups in Myanmar held a six-day conference in late January this year, agreeing in principle to the government’s proposal of “ceasefire for political dialogue”.
The meeting was a follow-up of an earlier conference of ethnic leaders held in Laiza in northernmost Kachin state in October-November 2013, in which the ethnic leaders signed an 11-point framework agreement of their own.
The document was presented in the first round of talks with the government in Myitgyina, the capital of Kachin state, for making a nationwide ceasefire deal in early November.
Though no breakthrough was made in the talks, the Myanmar government has reached individual ceasefire agreements with 14 ethnic armed groups since the president’s peace offer was extended in August 2011. — IANS