Myanmar’s government and the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) have reached a peace agreement five days after the state-level peace talks began on August 5.
The latest talks were held at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon on Saturday. The government's side was led by vice chairmen of the Union Peacemaking Work Committee, minister Aung Min, Lower House MP Thein Zaw, ministers Khin Yi and Ohn Myint, and Lieutenant General Thet Naing Win from the Defence Services.
The ABSDF's delegation was headed by chairman Yebaw Than Khe, vice chairman Yebaw Myo Win and general secretary Yebaw Hsan Ni. Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Mya Aye from the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society and Aye Tha Aung and Gin Kam Hlyan from the United Nationalities Alliance were also present as observers.
"Students demanded democracy in 1988. They split into two groups. One went into the jungle holding arms for the democracy cause while the other was left operating above the ground. They sacrificed for their conviction. Now we no longer need to fight each other as the government is moving forward with democratic system. We are now here for cooperation. This event really is a victory,” said minister Aung Min.
Both parties discussed efforts for nationwide ceasefire urging accountability and responsibility on both sides. Among the points agreed on were inviting various political parties, organisations and individuals to participate in the peace process and to the removal of ABSDF from the government's list of unlawful organisations.
"Today’s roundtable discussion is not enough to solve future problems. I think strong and powerful organisations like government, parliament and military are most responsible for the peace process. We are also responsible," said ABSDF chairman Yebaw Than Khe.
They also agreed to continue talks to drop charges against ABSDF members and troops as well as removing them from the government's blacklist. The second union level talks will reportedly take place in November after both sides agreed to set the date.