The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) congratulates the negotiating teams of the Myanmar government and ethnic armed groups on agreeing the final draft of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Yangon.

“If the agreement is ratified soon, as hoped, it will be the most comprehensive ceasefire agreement in Myanmar’s history and will set the stage for resolving the longest-running conflict in Southeast Asia,” said Michael Vatikiotis, HD Regional Director for Asia.

The draft agreement, which follows numerous bilateral ceasefires negotiated with individual ethnic armed groups, was reached over seven rounds of formal negotiations between the negotiating teams of the government and ethnic groups, beginning in November 2013.

“Credit must go to the government and ethnic groups for managing a complex negotiation process by themselves. They have found their own solution tailored to Myanmar. It will be challenging to implement, not least because clashes are ongoing in parts of the country, but all parties have committed to making the NCA a reality.” Adam Cooper, HD Country Representative for Myanmar, said.

HD understands that there will be further consultations on the agreement with senior leaders on both sides, and that a formal signing has yet to take place.

“All those who have reached this agreement recognise that a ceasefire is not enough, and that we must move towards a political dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict and the grievances of ethnic communities. The NCA paves the way for the next stage of the process which we hope will include political parties and others.” Mr Cooper added.

HD has been supporting the peace process in Myanmar since 2011, working closely with, and lending support to, the ethnic armed groups, the government and political parties.