PANGHSANG, Wa Special Region — The United Wa State Army (UWSA) will from Friday play host to a meeting of ethnic armed groups, who are involved in the drafting of the preliminary nationwide ceasefire accord.
A total of 12 ethnic groups are expected to convene in Panghsang, a town located on the Burma-China border, where the powerful UWSA has its headquarters. Though the ethnic conference in Panghsang was scheduled to run for three days, it has been extended until May 6 in order to comprehensively discuss outstanding concerns over ethnic affairs and the peace process.
On Mar. 30, the government agreed in principle with the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), which represents 16 ethnic organizations, on the text for a nationwide ceasefire. The occasion was hailed by the government as a breakthrough, although the NCCT said it would have to take the draft text back to ethnic leaders, who would need to convene and endorse its content before an accord could be signed. The UWSA is not participating in ceasefire negotiations with the government.