Ethnic Armed Groups Seek Common Ground: Sources

By Saw Yan Naing 7 July 2016

Signatories and non-signatories of last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) will hold a meeting to prepare for an upcoming ethnic summit, where groups will cooperate toward building a federal union, sources said.

The meeting will take place in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand on Friday and will include representatives from the Coordination Team (CT)—a delegation that represents eight NCA signatories—and leaders from the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of nine NCA non-signatories.

Khun Myint Tun, chairman of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) told The Irrawaddy that the meeting is in preparation for the upcoming ethnic summit, which is planned for July in Mai Ja Yang, a conflict-torn region in Kachin State, northern Burma.

“Ethnic leaders will talk about what we have done thus far in the peace process and how to cooperate in the future regarding our stand on whether or not to sign the NCA,” said Khun Myint Tun, whose PNLO signed the NCA.

“They will try to find a common objective in order to establish a federal union in our nation,” he added.

Representatives of the eight ethnic armed organizations that signed the NCA met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma Army Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing in late June, and proposed their plan to hold an ethnic summit in Mai Ja Yang.

The ethnic representatives will use the summit to talk about the upcoming Union Peace Conference, which was proposed by the state counselor and is scheduled for late August. Suu Kyi instructed government bodies to include both NCA signatories and non-signatories in the conference. She will meet UNFC leaders in July to hear their recommendations for the peace process.