Ethnic Armed Groups to Meet Suu Kyi

By Saw Yan Naing 1 July 2016

RANGOON — Representatives of the ethnic armed alliance the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) have agreed with the Burmese government peace delegation to hold a meeting with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in mid-July.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between the UNFC and the Burmese delegation led by Dr. Tin Myo Win at an office of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Rangoon on Friday.

“We agreed to work on a meeting between State Counselor and UNFC leaders including its chairman [N Ban La],” said Hla Maung Shwe, a spokesperson for the Burmese peace negotiation delegation.

Khu Oo Reh, general secretary of the UNFC, however, said, “It is not time yet to answer whether we will attend it [the Union Peace Conference]. We still have procedures which must be followed, including the Mai Ja Yang summit. We can only decide how we will participate after the summit. We have to find an answer in Mai Ja Yang.”

The UNFC members and other armed groups are planning to meet in Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State later this month to discuss August’s Union Peace Conference, which being compared to the 1947 Panglong Conference that guaranteed several of Burma’s major ethnicities autonomy and equal rights after independence from Britain.

The UNFC is made up of nine ethnic armed groups that did not sign last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement, a cessation of hostilities forged between eight armed groups and ex-president Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government.