WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) announced by the Government of Burma:
“The ceasefire agreement announced today by the Government of Burma represents a step toward Burma’s emergence from a decades-long civil war and conflict. This agreement is the product of two years of negotiations and hard work, and I commend the progress. Now it’s critical for all signatories to keep working toward political dialogue and a mutually binding code of conduct. The outcome of these future discussions will put the current agreement to test, particularly how well ethnic group signatories realize their political aspirations and security expectations.
“I also understand why some groups have chosen not to sign this agreement. Today’s agreement falls considerably short of a ‘national’ ceasefire agreement. Several of Burma’s armed ethnic groups were precluded from participation from the beginning. Nearly half of those who began negotiations on the agreement ultimately declined to sign, including some of the country’s largest insurgent groups.
“Peace between the government and Burma’s armed ethnic groups is essential to Burma’s transition to democracy and to opening up economic opportunity across the country. Democracy can only thrive in an environment of mutual trust, transparency, and inclusion in the political and economic development process—not just for armed ethnic groups, but for all ethnic minorities including the Rohingya.
“I will continue to focus on this process with high hopes for Burma’s future.”