Wa and Mongla Armed Groups to Attend ‘Pre-Panglong’ Peace Meeting

By The Irrawaddy 20 June 2016

RANGOON — Ethnic Wa and Mongla armed groups have agreed to participate in a political dialogue framework review meeting ahead of the “21 century Panglong” peace conference, according to a member of the government’s peace delegation.

The union peace conference is scheduled for late July. Although part of the process envisaged the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signed between the previous government and a minority of Burma’s ethnic armed groups last year, the current government has been trying to persuade NCA non-signatory groups to take part in it.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA), Burma’s largest non-state armed group, and the Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), known also as the Mongla group, refused to sign the NCA. Both are based along the Chinese border in Shan State.

Khin Zaw Oo, a retired Burmese army general who is part of the government’s 21 Century Panglong Preparatory Sub-Committee 2, posted on Facebook that the UWSA and the NDAA had agreed over the weekend to join the framework review meeting. However, the armed groups themselves have yet to confirm.

Khin Zaw Oo said that the UWSA and NDAA leaders had also signaled willingness to attend the “Panglong” peace conference, and will meet with the government in Naypyidaw to follow up at an unspecified time.

The government’s peace delegation, led by Tin Myo Win—the personal physician and long-time confidant of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi—traveled to Kengtung in eastern Shan State on Friday last week before meeting with the two armed groups in Mongla, the NDAA’s base in Special Region 4, a 1.5 hour drive from Kengtung.