Courtesy call by Myanmar’s Minister of the President's Office, U Aung Min to Discuss Basic Agreement on the Draft Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement

U Aung Min, Minister for the President’s Office (left) meets Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar Yohei Sasakawa

A delegation of 15 senior officials of the government of Myanmar, led by U Aung Min, Minister of the President’s Office, paid a courtesy call on Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation and Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar, on the morning of April 14 to thank the Japanese government and its representatives for their assistance in reaching a basic agreement for a draft nationwide ceasefire agreement. Minister Aung Min also predicted that the draft is very likely to lead to a final nationwide ceasefire agreement.

In the afternoon, the delegation paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, delivering a letter from President U Thein Sein and asking for continued assistance, to which PM Abe replied, “I am very appreciative of President Thein Sein’s efforts in reaching this basic agreement for a draft nationwide ceasefire agreement.”

Calling on Prime Minister Abe at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence”

Since gaining independence in 1948, Mynamar, which is home to more than 130 ethnic minorities, has experienced continued civil war among armed ethnic minority groups. The 16 main armed groups have been holding peace talks as part of the move toward democratization being led by the Thein Sein administration, which took office four years ago.

These talks led to the agreement on March 31, with the personal participation of President Thein Sein, of a draft nationwide ceasefire agreement between the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT). The various groups will now discuss the draft internally, and if agreement can be reached a final agreement for the nationwide ceasefire will be concluded.

Prime Minister Abe receiving a letter from President Thein Sein

At their meeting, Chairman Sasakawa commented, “The fact that a dispute that has continued for 60 long years could be resolved in a short time is a wonderful international achievement. Japan is honored to be the first country that this delegation has visited. Both the Japanese government and The Nippon Foundation will continue to work through public- and private-sector channels to support the peace process.”

In his meeting with PM Abe, Minister Aung Min noted that the draft for a nationwide ceasefire agreement reflected the cumulative aspirations of various ethnic groups, and that even though there has never been a government that has successfully democratized, “We are determined to succeed this time.”

President Thein Sein’s letter to PM Abe outlined the draft agreement and expressed the government’s desire to achieve peace and democracy with free and fair elections, and also requested Japan’s continued cooperation. In response, PM Abe noted that “the Japanese government, especially through Special Envoy Sasakawa, will continue to support your work.”