Ethnic Armed Groups Invite Ethnic Political Parties to Summit

By Saw Yan Naing 11 July 2016

RANGOON — An alliance of ethnic armed groups has invited ethnic political parties to attend a summit in Kachin State in late July.

According to a letter sent over the weekend to the government’s peace body the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) will invite two ethnic political party coalitions—the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF) to attend the ethnic summit in Mai Ja Yang, a conflict-torn region in Kachin State near the border with China.

At the summit, the UNFC will discuss the government’s upcoming peace conference, which is planned for August. They will also try to find common ground towards transforming Burma into a federal union.

In a separate letter received on the same day, the UNFC expressed an interest in visiting Burma’s largest non-state armed group, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), in Shan State in order to brief them about the summit. The ethnic alliance has requested the UWSA to allow them to visit prior to the summit, which is planned for July 26-29.

The NBF is an alliance of 20 ethnic political parties while the UNA has 12 member parties based in ethinic states as well as in the commercial capital Rangoon.

UNA members include the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the Arakan National Party (ANP), the only two ethnic parties to win a significant number of parliamentary seats in the November general election.