Two Invited Ethnic Parties Do Not Join Panghsang Summit

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 22 February 2017

RANGOON — The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) will not join the third summit of ethnic armed organizations, which kicked off in Panghsang, the capital of the Wa administrative region, on Wednesday.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) had previously invited 10 ethnic armed organizations to the summit in its headquarters in Panghsang.

The KNPP and the NMSP did not send delegates to the summit but sent documents stating their views, according to the summit’s secretarial body.

“We had decided to attend the summit and had already chosen delegates. But then, considering transportation difficulties and long-distance travel, we decided to cancel our delegation,” Nai Win Hla, central executive committee member of the NMSP told The Irrawaddy.

The Irrawaddy was not able to reach the KNPP for comment.

The summit will be held from Feb. 22-24, and is hosted by the UWSA and supported by the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), also known as Mongla Group.

The participants are expected to exchange views and discuss their standpoints regarding the second 21st Century Panglong Conference to be held in Naypyidaw in March.

Delegates attending the summit said they would discuss their views on the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) and difficulties with signing it.

Among the ethnic armed groups attending the summit are the NDAA, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)—also known as the Kokang Group—and the Arakan Army (AA).

Vice chief of staff of the Karen National Union (KNU) Gen Baw Kyaw Heh and Col Saw San Aung of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) are also invited to the summit as special attendees.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), a seven-member alliance of NCA non-signatories, will not join the summit, as they were not invited.
The UWSA hosted the first Panghsang Summit in May 2015 and the second one in November of the same year.