The Irrawaddy

Northeastern Alliance Optimistic About Future Peace Talks With Govt

UWSA’s Zhao Guo An speaks to the media at Horizon Lake View Hotel, after meeting with the State Counselor at her residence in Zabuthiri Township on May 26, 2017. (Photo: Myo Min Soe / The Irrawaddy)

NAYPYIDAW – The northeastern armed groups that met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday in Naypyidaw said that further talks with the State Counselor appeared to be possible.

The seven-member alliance includes the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-N (SSPP/SSA-N), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA) chief-of-staff and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

The State Counselor met the seven groups separately, in two sessions–the KIA, UWSA, NDAA and SSPP as one group, and the TNLA, AA and MNDAA as another group—at her residence in Naypyidaw.

Colonel Zaw Raw, of the KIA, briefly told The Irrawaddy after the meeting that they “hope the path for further negotiations will be open.”

“We presented our seven groups’ demands and we discussed it well, so we will find a way to hold further talks,” he said.

The UWSA’s spokesperson, Zhao Guo An, told The Irrawaddy after the meeting that “the State Counselor said to collaborate together for peace while we all are alive, as we are now in our 70s.”

Because these groups joined part of the 21st Panglong conference and met the State Counselor, the deadlock concerning the path toward peace had opened, according to Tar Parn La, a secretary of the TNLA.

He told reporters in Naypyidaw that they hoped “to move forward for further talks, as the path has begun.”

Prior to meeting the State Counselor, the groups’ representatives met in advance with the peace commission leaders at the Horizon Lake View Hotel on Thursday and shared their general principles and specific propositions.

The groups’ delegations will depart from Naypyidaw for Kunming, China on Saturday afternoon.