Brotherhood Alliance, Myanmar junta agree to ceasefire in Northern Shan

The anti-regime ethnic armed alliance that has been waging a war against the Myanmar junta in northern Shan State reached a three-point ceasefire deal with the regime during China-sponsored peace talks on Thursday, sources with knowledge of the meeting told The Irrawaddy, The Irrawaddy reports.

Representatives of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)—collectively known as the Brotherhood Alliance, which has been waging a successful coordinated offensive against the regime since late October last year—met with their regime counterparts and Chinese officials in Kunming on Wednesday and Thursday.

The sources told The Irrawaddy that the two sides agreed to a ceasefire and that their troops would not make any further advances.

The alliance also agreed not to seize any more regime camps or towns in northern Shan State, while the junta agreed to refrain from conducting air strikes and shelling in the area.

Furthermore, the two sides also agreed to reopen vital Myanmar-China trade routes over which the joint ethnic armies have taken control.

“The deal has been in effect since 10 p.m. Thursday,” one of the sources told The Irrawaddy.

He added, however, that a resumption in trade would only be possible after further detailed discussions between the ethnic armies, the junta and China after all fighting on the ground had ceased.

“The talks focused mainly on the ceasefire. Issues like relocation of troops, bases and territory designation are still off the agenda,” the source explained.

Junta spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun confirmed the ceasefire to local pro-regime media on Friday. He said some additional points would be discussed further in order to sustain the deal, and thanked China for facilitating the talks.

The alliance launched the offensive, known as Operation 1027, in late October last year vowing to uproot the military dictatorship and eradicate online scam operations on the Myanmar-China borde. The ethnic armies have taken control of a large swathe of northern Shan State from the Chinese border in the east to areas close to Mandalay Region in the west. Additional anti-regime offensives—some of them part of the alliance operation, others inspired by it—have subsequently been launched in Sagaing Region and Rakhine, Chin and Karenni (Kayah) states.

The meeting facilitated by Chinese envoy Deng Xijun in Kunming marked the third round of negotiations between the alliance and the junta since China, which has some influence over the ethnic armies, brokered the initial talks in December at the junta’s request.

During the first meeting in, both sides agreed to a 20-day ceasefire from Dec. 11 to 31 but the deal collapsed as intense clashes continued to break out across northern Shan.

The second round of talks from Dec. 22 to 24 failed to reach any agreement and the fighting went on uninterrupted. So far the alliance has seized 16 towns and five China-Myanmar trade zones, while the junta has lost at least 250 army bases, including a Regional Operations Command and tactical bases, in northern Shan State alone.

The third round of peace talks came after Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong met with Myanmar junta boss Min Aung Hlaing on Friday in Naypyitaw to discuss border stability among other issues.

A local conflict analyst told The Irrawaddy that the outcome of the latest talks may be due to pressure from China, which seeks stability along its border with Myanmar.

“The deal is only effective for northern Shan. In other areas, the fighting will continue,” he said, referring to Rakhine, Chin, Karenni, Sagaing and other areas.

As of Friday afternoon, the alliance had yet to make any announcement about the deal and spokespersons for the ethnic armies were not available to comment on whether the ceasefire deal would impact their vow to topple the regime in Myanmar.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

66 − 57 =