Myanmar junta efforts to persuade three pro-resistance ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) to support its election plan came to nothing at a China-mediated meeting on Thursday.
Junta officials at the meeting asked the tripartite military alliance – formed of the Arakan Army (AA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – to back its long-planned poll.
The meeting, which took place in Mongla, Shan State, ended after the alliance refused to discuss the matter.
China’s special envoy Guo Bao, of Yunnan’s Foreign Affairs Department, was present at the talks.
None of the three EAOs is currently actively fighting the regime, but they have been providing military training and supplies to resistance forces battling junta troops. And they have not agreed an official ceasefire with the Myanmar military.
Attending the talks were the junta’s National Solidarity and Peacemaking Negotiation Committee (NSPNC) chair Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, Secretary Lt- Gen Win Bo Shein, Working Committee Member Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo (retired) and others.
They urged the armed groups to support the election plan that the junta announced following the 2021 coup, with a promise to hand power back to the winning party. However, faced with a nationwide armed uprising, the junta still hasn’t set a time frame for the poll, saying only that it would be held when there is peace.
The would-be election has been condemned as a sham both locally and internationally.
The junta delegation also reiterated the military’s claim that it had not staged a coup, but only taken over state responsibilities in line with law. They added that the regime would stick to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in discussing self-determination for ethnicities.
Representatives of the three EAOs, known as the Brotherhood Alliance, said they only came to listen to the military’s viewpoint and would now report back to their respective central executive committees, sources familiar with the matter told The Irrawaddy.
The alliance also demanded the release of its members being detained by the junta and the end of travel restrictions in Rakhine so that relief aid can be delivered to victims of Cyclone Mocha, which hit the western province on May 14.
The meeting ended on Friday morning without any result.
Myanmar’s powerful neighbor China has influence over border-based armed groups and often brokers talks between the military and EAOs in a bid to ensure stability along the border and safety for its citizens.