The Irrawaddy

Union Peace Conference Set to Begin on August 31

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, pictured in a photo shared on social media on August 8, 2016. (Photo: Myanmar State Counsellor Office / Facebook)

Burma’s Union Peace Conference will begin on August 31, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi announced during a meeting of the conference’s central committee in Naypyidaw on Monday.

According to the Facebook page of the State Counselor’s Office, during the meeting, Suu Kyi also instructed government ministries and officials to “collaborate” on the tasks of convening the peace conference.

The central convening committee—formed on August 3 by an order from the President’s Office—is chaired by the State Counselor, who is also the head of Burma’s peace negotiation center. Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister of the State Counselor’s Office, is the vice chair of the newly-formed committee, which also includes Union ministers and deputy ministers. Khin Maung Tin, Deputy Minister of the State Counselor’s Office, serves as the committee’s secretary, and former Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo is the joint secretary.

Under the central committee, working committees are also formed with respective ministers and departmental heads. Since May, the new government has formed multiple committees dedicated to peacebuilding, involving a variety of stakeholders.

A series of meetings on the political dialogue framework review and the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee are also scheduled to be held within three weeks of the conference’s August 31st start date.

Also on Monday afternoon, Suu Kyi met with Burma Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing at the President’s Office. They reportedly discussed issues ranging from a potential ceasefire in Kachin and northern Shan states, to national reconciliation and the rule of law, to preparatory issues related to the upcoming peace conference.

Other meeting participants were Burma Army Vice-Snr-Gen Soe Win, Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Attorney General Tun Tun Oo, peace commission chair Dr. Tin Myo Win, Lt-Gen Mya Tun Oo from the Burma Army commander-in-chief’s office, and Lt-Gen Soe Htut, the military attorney general.