The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has refused to surrender its armed wing, the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA).....
The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has refused to surrender its armed wing, the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) to the State Peace and Development Council (SDCP), but has requested that political dialogue remain open between the two groups.
The NMSP sent their refusal in a letter to the Southeast Command (SEC) in Moulmein on September 1st, the decision deadline given to the NMSP by SEC Commander Maj. Gen Thet Naing Win. The deadline was issued to the NMSP’s Central Executive Command (CEC) during an August 23rd 2010 meeting between the two groups at the SEC’s office in Moulmein. According to reports, General Thet Naing Win informed the NMSP that a refusal would result in the breakdown of the 15-year ceasefire between the two groups.
“We [the NMSP] reported the NMSP’s final decision on September 1st . The NMSP rejected their order [to surrender], but we do not know yet, what the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] will do to the NMSP,” an NMSP CEC member reported.
A copy of the letter sent from the NMSP to the SEC in Moulmein stated that while the NMSP refuses to submit its army to the SPDC at the current time, it still desires a “discussion of political issues with the current government or the future government [of Burma] while maintaining the ceasefire.”
Previous demands from the Burmese government in April of this year involved orders that the NMSP transform the MNLA into a SPDC-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) or people’s militia. The demands issued in August reportedly only stipulated that the MNLA be surrendered to the Burmese government, and ordered the NMSP to refrain from interfering in the upcoming 2010 elections.
“The NMSP rejected the BGF, for that [offer] the NMSP already gave its decision on April 22nd to the SPDC, for this final deadline [for surrender], we reject that cause as well” said NMSP foreign affairs officer Nai Handar Pon Khaing.
Despite the party’s refusal of the SPDC’s latest commands, NMSP sources claim that yesterdays letter requested that political dialogue remain open between the two groups, as a way of maintaining the ceasefire and preserve peace in Mon areas. Instead of a surrender, the NMSP offered the idea of a future compromise: the conversion of the MNLA into a federally controlled “state defense” armed group, in charge of defending Mon areas.
The NMSP’s missive indicated that the party, despite its current refusal to collaborate the SPDC, does subscribe to the current that Burma should only contain one army:
“Even though it [the party] didn’t accept a changing of arms in the current situation, it [the party] has accepted that, as in the constitution, that only one army [should be] under a federal and democratic system, it is appropriate within the constitution to [have a] change of arms. The party’s desire was reported that the ethnics armed groups form to be included as a part of the federal army, and put under the control of the state government as a state defense.”
The NMSP’s refusal letter has reportedly been sent from the SEC office in Moulmein to the government center in Naypyidow; the SPDC has yet to issue a response.
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