ICC Note: This sounds more like a publicity stunt of the incumbent president leading up to Myanmar’s critical November 8 election, rather than an actual ceasefire agreement. Only 8 of 15 groups in conflict with the central government participated in the process.
By John Zaw
10/15/2015 Myanmar (UCANews.com)
Myanmar’s government is touting the signing of a national cease-fire agreement as a historic step toward peace. But analysts said the failure to include key combatants — including an armed group in a strongly Christian region — shows authorities have not delivered on a promise to end fighting ahead of highly anticipated November elections.
In a signing ceremony broadcast on state media on Oct. 15, President Thein Sein trumpeted the peace deal as a “legacy.”
The agreement, Thein Sein said, represents “the mutual trust between us, and a legacy for future generations. Furthermore, the agreement unequivocally shows our sincerity.”
Despite the president’s optimism, however, large parts of Christian-majority Kachin state, in Myanmar’s north, effectively remain in a state of civil war.
The Kachin Independence Army, one of the largest ethnic armed groups in the country, is still fighting with military forces following the breakdown of a 17-year cease-fire in 2011. More than 100,000 people have been displaced as a result of the clashes and remain in temporary camps in Kachin and Shan states.
Observers said the conflict is a central reason for the government’s failure to deliver on its promise to end armed clashes in Myanmar before the Nov. 8 vote. In fact, only eight of 15 groups who participated in the national peace process were involved in the Oct. 15 agreement.
Yan Myo Thein, a Yangon-based political analyst, said the fact that only some of the country’s armed ethnic groups have signed the agreement shows it is more of a “cosmetic political show” rather than a historic benchmark.
“The peace process must be inclusive of all ethnic armed groups,” Yan Myo Thein said in an interview Oct. 15.