The Irrawaddy

Second Wa Delegate Hospitalized in Naypyitaw Amid Peace Talks

NAYPYITAW — Two senior members of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) have been hospitalized during their sojourn in Naypyitaw this week to attend the third session of the Union Peace Conference, where government, military and ethnic minority leaders are looking for ways to end the country’s decades-long civil war.

UWSA liaison officer Zhao Guo An was hospitalized on Friday morning due to glucose deficiency, according to a government spokesman.

On Thursday, UWSA Vice Chairman Bao Yu Yi fainted ahead of a meeting with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The spokesman attributed the episode to the vice chairman’s heart condition and the difference in climate between Naypyitaw and the cooler temperatures of Wa State.

“U Zhao Guo An is fine now. We put him in the hospital to make sure he is alright,” the spokesman told media.

He said both UWSA officials were being treated at the 1,000-bed General Hospital in Naypyitaw.

“For U Bao Yu Yi, we have assigned some cardio specialists from the military [hospital] for better treatment,” he added.

The UWSA is the most powerful ethnic armed group among seven that have not signed the government’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

On Friday afternoon, Myanmar military chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing visited the two Wa leaders in the hospital to ask about their conditions, according to a press release from the commander-in-chief’s office.

Photos posted to his Facebook account show the military chief personally serving Bao Yu Yi  a bowl of bird nest soup.

In his remarks at the opening ceremonies of the peace conference on Wednesday, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing said the government and the military were actively engaged in the peace process not because they were weak.

Some delegates at the conference expressed concern that his decision to highlight the military’s strength, and his remarks in general, would hinder the negotiations with ethnic armed groups, both with those that have not signed the NCA and those that have.