Shan State Progressive Party Resigns from UNFC

By Nyein Nyein 21 August 2017

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — The Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) sent a resignation letter to the ethnic alliance the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which would leave the bloc with only four organizations.

The SSPP vice chairman Maj-Gen Sao Khun Sai confirmed this during a meeting of the ethnic armed bloc the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) – led by the United Wa State Army – in Panghsang, the capital of the Wa self-administrative region in northeastern Myanmar.

In a brief video released the weekend of the meeting, the SSPP vice chairman said the resignation letter was submitted to the bloc’s chairman Nai Hong Sar on August 12.

The FPNCC, which has demanded an alternative to the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), began this series of meetings on August 18.

However, formal or informal talks have not been held between the government and the FPNCC bloc since the alliance joined the opening of the second session of the 21st Panglong peace conference in Naypyitaw in late May.

The SSPP has been in the FPNCC since its inception in February (and its official establishment in April), along with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which left the UNFC in June.

The UNFC now comprises the New Mon State Party, the Karenni National Progressive Party, the Arakan National Council and the Lahu Democratic Union. It started with 11 groups in 2011.

It is unclear whether the UNFC has agreed to the SSPP’s resignation and UNFC leaders have been unavailable for comment.

The UNFC’s Delegation for Political Negotiation has been negotiating with the government to follow the NCA path, specifically discussing details of the bloc’s eight-point proposal.

The UNFC and the National League for Democracy-led government have had six formal talks and two informal talks throughout the previous 14 months. The negotiations are ongoing and negotiators from both sides will meet again in early September.