Burma News International (BNI) reports that the junta is using “peace talks” to prolong its power, according to the document “Peace being used to perpetuate military dictatorship.” In the paper, political analysts say selected ethnic armed organizations have been solicited by the junta to participate.
The military council held talks last summer with 7 of the 10 ethnic armed groups who signed the 2015 National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), while only 5 of those groups attended the talks held in Nay Pyi Taw from December 27 to 30. The document says that although the military junta is holding these “peace talks,” the talks have in no way reduced the intensity of the current civil war.
A member of the Myanmar Peace Observatory, who participated in the compilation of the document, commented, “If you look at the 10 NCA signatories, not all of the 10 groups actually recognized and discussed the peace invitation. Seven of the smaller groups attended the first “peace talks.” Now, the junta does not have a plan to meet even those 7 groups at the same time. That is why it is not easy to go to the next level of dialogue. One question is why two groups, the RCSS and the NMSP, dropped out. The junta refuses to recognize some of the combatant ethnic armed groups. Without recognizing all the combatants, it is difficult to see how the fighting can be reduced.”
In the current civil war with against the junta, the armed People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) that emerged after the coup are important participants, but the military council’s “peace invitations” do not include the PDFs.
“Actually, if we were to look at the resistance and revolutionary war during this coup, most of the actual fighting was by the PDFs alongside the ethnic resistance organizations (EROs). Therefore, as long as they ignore the PDFs as a military force, they will find it impossible to build peace,” the Myanmar Peace Observatory member added.
After the 2021 coup d’état, the military council has been inviting ethnic armed organizations to peace talks, including the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). KNPP Secretary Khu Daniel said, “The KNPP will hold discussions with its fellow ethnic groups. Also, the junta is using its planned sham elections to prolong its power. In addition, it also created splinter ethnic groups to divide the opposition. Trying to entertain the ethnic armies while freezing out the PDFs is just another divide-and-conquer tactic. In any case, the call for ‘peace talks’ is just a ploy to try to prolong the junta’s power.”
The National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) emerged after the coup and are currently fighting against the military council and have received the support of the country’s majority.