CHIANG MAI, Thailand — The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) confirmed it will not join the upcoming Union Peace Conference next week nor sign the government-proposed deed of commitment (DoC) at a central committee meeting on Wednesday.
Khu Plu Reh, a KNPP secretary and spokesperson, told The Irrawaddy the KNPP would not join the upcoming peace conference—also known as the 21st Panglong peace conference—if it was invited as an “observer.”
It would not sign the DoC as that was a pledge to pursue the government’s path of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), he said.
“We stick to the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)’s eight points until they are negotiated,” he said, as the UNFC’s delegation for political negotiation has been in talks with the government’s Peace Commission for them to sign the NCA if their proposed terms are agreed.
“The government obstinately moves forward with the NCA roadmap, but they do it without finishing one step before another,” Khu Plu Reh added, referring to the fact that national level dialogues—ethnic stakeholder consultations that are a key step in signing the NCA—had not been conducted by all groups.
At the peace conference, which begins May 24, delegates would sign a Union accord on five key sectors, despite many groups not being represented, he said.
KNPP appointed new central committee members on Wednesday, including the vice chairman and secretariat team, from its leading 33 committee members elected at their 13th congress last week.
Khu Oo Reh, former vice chairman, was reappointed into the same position and Shwe Myo Thant, Khu Plu Reh and Khu Daniel were appointed as secretariats.
The New Mon State Party, also a UNFC member, said they would not attend the upcoming conference as an observer.
The KNPP representatives joined the first round of the peace conference in August and September 2016, together with its bloc the UNFC and shared their position with the conference.
The government said they would invite NCA non-signatory ethnic armed groups with delegate status if they agreed to sign the DoC.
Although the government’s peace commission led by Dr. Tin Myo Win and the UNFC’s delegation for political negotiation, led by Khu Oo Reh, agreed at their last meeting on April 28 that they would meet again prior to the second round of Panglong, the UNFC has reportedly been unavailable to meet.