7 non-ceasefire signatory armed groups leave peace conference without reaching agreements in Myanmar


Two Wa soldiers from the United Wa State Army (USWA) stand armed on a construction site. Photo: AFP

Seven Northern Alliance non-ceasefire signatory armed groups have left the second meeting of 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference on Saturday for home, one day before the end of the conference in Myanmar, without reaching agreements. 

However, the armed groups accepted the idea of going through further dialogue, U Zaw Htay, Director-General of the Office of the State Counsellor’s Office, told the press late on the day. 

N'Ban La, Vice Chairman of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), who was hosted by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in her residence, also told the press that the KIO will soon hold further talks with the government. 

The seven Northern Alliance armed groups, who attended the opening ceremony of the peace conference in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday, refer to the United Wa State Army (UWSA), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP)-North and Mongla's National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Kokang's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Arakan Army (AA). 

They were received by Aung San Suu Kyi separately on the side-lines of the conference on Friday. 

U Zhao Guo An, External Relations Officer of the UWSA, told the press that despite no discussions, the family-like gathering serves as a base for future link, fully believing that if all sides strive for peace, then it can be achieved one day. 

General Secretary-2 of the TNLA Tha Ban Hla also said their group's presence in the conference is an initial step for seeking ceasefire and further discussions are expected. 

The five-day second meeting of the Panglong Peace Conference, attended by some 1,400 representatives from the government, the parliament, the military, invited political parties, ethnic armed organizations and civil society, is due to close later on Sunday after a meeting of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) on the detailed discussions in the conference, according to the committee's secretariat. 

The 15 ethnic armed organizations, present at the event, include eight signatories to the NCA, led by the Karen National Union (KNU), and seven non-signatories or Northern Alliance, led by the UWSA.

Courtesy Global Times, edited for style

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