Ethnic Armed Groups Discuss Peace and Governance in Thailand

Ethnic Armed Groups Discuss Peace and Governance in Thailand

Myanmar Spring Chronicle, March 17th 2024 by MoeMaKa Media

Representatives from seven of the ten ethnic armed groups that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) are currently gathered in Chiang Mai for a plenary meeting. The meeting, organized by a group known as NCA EAO, is not associated with the military council and aims to address common issues among the signatories.

While the ABSDF, CNF, and KNU opted out of participating, citing the nullification of the NCA following the military coup, others have expressed varying views on the agreement’s validity. Disagreements have arisen within some armed organizations regarding engagement with the military council, with differing stances on attending meetings convened by the council.

Led by General Yawd Serk, the RCSS/SSA is considered one of the most influential groups among the attendees. Over the course of three days, discussions are expected to center on governance and self-determination, particularly in areas where these groups hold sway.

The meeting comes amid shifting military dynamics following Operation 1027, with ethnic armed groups gaining control over territories previously held by the military council. In regions such as Shan State, Rakhine State, Kachin State, and Sagaing Division, these groups have initiated their own administrations, reflecting the changing landscape of power.

While some may question the need for new forms of self-governance, attendees are reportedly focused on enhancing the political legitimacy of their territories, particularly in light of reduced military council presence. General Yawd Serk emphasized the proposal and approval of new organizational structures and rules during his opening address.

The gathering marks another chapter in the complex history of ethnic armed groups’ involvement in Myanmar’s peace process. From the formation of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) in 2011 to the establishment of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) in 2015, these groups have adapted to evolving political circumstances.

General Yawd Serk’s pledge to introduce new organizational forms underscores the ongoing evolution within these groups, reflecting their efforts to navigate Myanmar’s turbulent political landscape and carve out a path towards peace and stability.