Ethnic Armed Organisations’ conference commences
The ethnic armed organisations plenary meeting commenced in Mai Ja Yanng, Kachin State, yesterday, attracting leaders representing 17 ethnic armed groups to search for common ground in working toward a federal system in the country.
Delivering his opening remarks, U N’Ban La, Chairman of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), spoke of the importance for seeking common ground in meeting and implementation of agreements reached among the ethnic groups in the meeting, as the government is planning to hold the Union Peace Conference — 21st century Panlong.
U N’Ban La recounted what he discussed with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi recently in Yangon, saying that the council urged her to settle the current armed conflicts and to carry on the political commitment gained between General Aung San and ethnic leaders in 1947 in order to reach a cessation of armed conflicts and to build a federal democratic system in the country.
Khu Oo Reh, the secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), spoke on the importance of the conference for the ethnic armed groups, calling the conference a “historic event for ethnic armed groups”.
The four-day conference is intended to prepare for coming Union Peace Conference — 21st century Panglong and to seek common ground between ethnic armed groups in order to broker deals for a future Union in Myanmar.
He also urged participants of the conference to discuss and negotiate with tolerance and loving kindness towards each other.
At the conference, ethnic armed groups will discuss four topics: discussion and approval of a Panglong manual, adoption of basic principles for the constitution of a federal democratic State, basic principles for security and defence and amending the framework for the political dialogue.
The plenary meeting was attended by Arakan Liberation Army-ALP, Arakan National Council, All Burma Students Democratic Front-ABSDF, Chin National Front-CNF, Democratic Karen Buddhist Army-DKBA, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the KNU/KNLA Peace Council, Lahu Democratic Union-LDU, New Mon State Party-NMSP, National Democratic Alliance Army-NDAA (Mongla), the Pao National Liberation Organization-PNLO, Restoration Council of Shan State-Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-SSPP/SSA, UNFC, The United League of Arakan/Arakan Army-UL/AA, the Women’s League of Burma, the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation – NBF, the United Nationalities Alliance-UNA and the Wa National Organization-WNO.
Not in attendance, however, were the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA).
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar, who joined the Mai Ja Yang summit, said that the UN will stand alongside ethnic armed organisations and the government in support of the peace process.
Sun Guoxiang, from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that China will “continue supporting” Myanmar.