The 10 NCA-signatory groups are expected to decide on whether or not to dissolve the Peace Process Steering Team.

Representatives of 10 ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that have signed Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) are set to meet in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this week to decide on the future of the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST).

According to EAO sources, the gathering of NCA signatories will start today and continue until next Monday (June 5-10).

Central executive committee members from 10 NCA-signatory EAOs are going to meet in Chiang Mai. One representative from each group will attend the meeting, Khun Sai, an advisor to one of the groups, the Restoration Council of Shan State, told SHAN.

Khun Sai said that in addition to the issue of what to do about the PPST, the delegates will also discuss the NCA and whether to meet with members of the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

But at the top of the agenda will be the question of whether to dissolve the PPST and form a new body the Peace Process Consultative Meeting (PPCM) as proposed by the Karen National Union (KNU), one of the groups that will be taking part in this week’s talks.

The KNU first floated the idea of withdrawing from the Burma Army-recognized PPST and forming the PPCM during the first session of the fourth summit of NCA-signatory EAOs, held in Chiang Mai on May 14-18.

The suggestion has stirred some controversy, as it is likely to meet with resistance from the Burma Army, which does not want to see EAOs unite into a single force.

EAO leaders who attended that summit agreed to find common ground in their quest to overcome issues that have created a deadlock in the peace process.

They also vowed to work together to realize the basic principles of federalism and agreed to hold a second session of the summit within two months.

Source: The Shan Herald Agency for News