Representatives from Myanmar's government met with a team from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Wednesday in Naypyidaw to discuss the transfer of political power that will formally take place on April 1, a member of the president’s office said.
“Today’s meeting mainly focused on the transfer-of-power ceremony scheduled to be held at the Presidential Palace,” Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the president’s office, who attended the meeting, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.
“We [also] agreed to hold another meeting sometime in early March,” he said, but did not offer any further details.
The government formed the support committee to handle the power transfer following a meeting between President Thein Sein and NLD chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi in early December.
The committee members include information minister Ye Htut, director-general of the president’s office Hla Tun, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Construction Maung Maung Ohn, and director of the president’s office Zaw Htay.
The members of the NLD’s power-transfer team who attended the meeting included central executive committee member Win Htein, physician and NLD operative Myo Aung, and former rector of Yangon University Aung Thu.
As representatives from the current and incoming governments met to plan the political transition, leaders from the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society Group, formerly known as the 88 Generation Students, discussed the nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) with leaders from the armed ethnic groups that signed the accord with the government last October.
Eight rebel groups signed the accord at that time, while others declined to sign it or were excluded by the government.
The incoming NLD government should consider how it will seek peace with non-NCA signatories, said dissident and activist Min Ko Naing, who is a member of the a member of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society Group which had worked with the opposition party to ensure free and fair general elections last November.
The NLD won the elections, receiving more than 80 percent of the vote.
“It is very important for the new government to know how to advance peace in the country and how to carry out the work initiated by current government,” he told RFA after the meeting in Yangon. “We have to think about the opinions of non-NCA parties as well as political timing.”
The meeting participants discussed how the rebel groups that have not signed the NCA should proceed in a proper and fair manner as have those which have signed it, he said.
'Very delicate' transition
“The most important thing is to have a discussion on the future union since today’s political transition is very delicate,” Min Ko Naing said.
The peace process, whose goal is to end decades of civil wars between the government army and ethnic rebel groups so Myanmar can move forward towards peaceful democratic development, calls for an “all-inclusive union-level conference,” he said.
The team from the incoming NLD government should discuss this, he said.
Aung San Suu Kyi has made national reconciliation and lasting one of the NLD-led government’s goals.
Leaders from Karen National Union (KNU), Chin National Front (CNF), Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) attended the meeting.
Members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of the armed ethnic groups that did not sign the NCA, met earlier this week in Thailand to discuss their peace negotiation strategy with the NLD government.
The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) government’s main peace negotiator also met with UNFC leaders this week to try to get the rebel groups to agree to the peace accord, but the council said it was firmly sticking to its all-inclusive policy for any future negotiations.
Reported by Kyaw Thu and Htat Arkar for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.