NAY PYI TAW, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar government and two more ethnic armed groups signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday.
The join-in signing of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) to the government's NCA has brought the total of such signatories to 10 since the first signing with eight armed groups on Oct. 15, 2015.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also chairperson of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center, expressed welcome for the two armed groups which she said have taken a bold step in laying down a corner stone for the emergence of a democratic federal union in the future.
She maintained that the NCA is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of the process, the beginning of political dialogue and armed conflict reduction and through the dialogue and negotiation, political issues are to be resolved.
She invited the remaining armed groups to come to the political negotiation round table under the government's future program, while continuing to work with organizations which have already signed the NCA to consolidate the ceasefire process.
NMSP and LDU, which are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), are the first two armed groups signing the NCA in time of the incumbent government, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD).
The two fresh signatories will join the upcoming third meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference.
Following the 2015 initiation of the NCA, the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conferences were held twice during the incumbent government in August 2016 and May 2017 respectively.
The second meeting of the peace conference was able to incorporate a total of 37 adopted principles into a union accord in the country's peace process for the first time in Myanmar's history.
The third meeting of the Panglong Peace Conference is likely to be held later this month for further discussion of unfinished fundamental principles on federalism as well as the formulation of new principles.
Aung San Suu Kyi has called for inclusiveness in the country's national reconciliation and peace process, reiterating the government's welcome of non-ceasefire signatory armed groups to join the signing of NCA and be inclusive in formulating the principles toward a democratic federal union in the future.
Several other groups which have not yet signed the NCA include the Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Arakan National Council (ANC), the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).