Govt Peace Team to Meet UWSA

By Chit Min Tun 18 August 2017

YANGON — Government peace negotiators are planning to meet leaders of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) at its headquarters in northern Shan State, according to a UWSA official.

U Thein Zaw Oo, the assistant liaison officer at the USAW Lashio office, said he was told that U Thein Zaw Oo—the vice-chairperson of the government’s Peace Commission—was going to lead a delegation to the headquarters, possibly in September, but the date has not yet been confirmed.

U Thein Zaw Oo was assigned under President U Thein Sein’s government to persuade the UWSA, National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), and Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) to join the peace process.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) administration then entrusted him with the same task, placing him as the vice-chairperson of the Peace Commission.

“We don’t know the details, agenda or date of the meeting yet,” said spokesperson U Aung Soe of the Peace Commission.

Following a summit of ethnic armed groups at UWSA headquarters in Panghsang in Feb. 2017, the UWSA formed the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) to join the peace process outside of the national ceasefire agreement path.

Led by the UWSA, the FPNCC also comprises the NDAA, SSPP, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA), and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

The ethnic armed groups demand the government engages with them as a single entity, but the government has refused, preferring to deal with them as separate groups.

Brig-Gen Tar Bone Kyaw of the TNLA said: “I haven’t heard about the meeting. We have only agreed to meet the government as a bloc. The FPNCC is yet to hold a meeting and make a decision on whether or not to meet the government separately.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.