Burma

State Counselor and UNFC Peace Negotiation Team to Meet This Week

By Nyein Nyein 27 February 2017

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the representatives of the ethnic armed bloc’s Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) will meet on Wednesday in Naypyidaw, both sides confirmed.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)—comprised of non-signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA)—said that the agenda will include a discussion of the current political deadlock as well as the nine UNFC demands that must be met before the alliance will sign the NCA.

The UNFC’s delegation will then meet with the Peace Commission on Friday to discuss the details of the meeting.

While the UNFC has been trying to meet the State Counselor to talk about policies regarding all-inclusivity, active ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) based in the northeast said in a statement on Feb. 24 that Burma needed “a new ceasefire agreement to replace the NCA,” which reflects the United Wa State Army (UWSA) chairman Bao Youxiang’s speech at an ethnic summit opening two days earlier.

The statement, released after the meeting of seven active EAOs based in Kachin and northern Shan States for three days from Feb 22-24, said participants agreed that the Wa group would lead the undertaking of a political negotiation team, in order to work with the government without signing the NCA.

Two UNFC members groups—the chair of the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army and the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North—attended the third ethnic armed group summit host by the UWSA in Panghsang last week. These two were among those who drafted the NCA under the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team.

However, Khu Oo Reh, the secretary of the UNFC, said the statement from the third Panghsang summit does not reflect the UNFC’s views.

He reiterated, “the UNFC was not invited as a coalition,” but as individual groups. The Karenni National Progressive Party and the New Mon State Party were both unable to attend, citing travel difficulties.

“We were not consulted about the statement prior to its release. The UNFC’s peace process policy has not changed. We still follow the NCA path and will continue to do so,” Khu Oo Reh said.

Nang Lwin Hnin Pwint contributed to this report.

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