Myanmar peace deal fails ahead of elections

Myanmar peace talks

The much-hoped for peace deal, ahead of the elections in Myanmar, has faltered yet again. The Myanmar government, Army and ethnic armed groups have failed to reach a resolution due to a lack of consensus. According to negotiators, the government and ethnic armed groups failed to come to a consensus on the inclusion of all rebel groups as a part of the peace deal. While the ethnic armed groups wanted more groups to be involved in the talks, the Myanmar government didn’t agree to include some rebel insurgent groups that had a standoff with the army.

With elections scheduled on November 8, time remains a constraint to reach a ceasefire agreement. “We could not conclude a deal today because both sides were unable to negotiate the issue,” said Pu Zing Cung, of the ethnic group delegation. After decades of fighting, in March Myanmar’s President Thein Sein had secured a draft deal with more than a dozen rebel groups, which was also appreciated and praised by the United Nations calling it a “historic and significant achievement”.

The talks took place in the backdrop of Myanmar facing one of its worst ever floods that has killed thousands of people and has affected nearly 330,000 people. Despite that the government pressed ahead with talks since it considered this to be at the heart of its reforms. Conflict in the northern Kachin state has also displaced around 100,000 people and the fighting between the government and ethnic Chinese rebels in the Shan state has led to tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes and into China. This has also led to a serious refugee crisis on the Myanmar-China border.

The inclusion of the Kokang rebels, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Arakan army in the peace talks has not gone down well with the military which has made it an issue. The opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to win a lot of seats in the upcoming elections and this could reset the negotiations if a new government comes into power.  

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