Outcomes of the recent meeting on reviewing the framework for political dialogue in Yangon were submitted to the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPJC) in the capital Naypyidaw yesterday.
Representatives of the government, political parties, and ethnic armed groups gathered last week at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC)—formerly called the Myanmar Peace Centre.
Salai Lian Hmung, vice-chairman of the Chin National Front, said with the inclusion of the ethnic armed groups that have not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) the meeting went well.
He said: “We believe the 21st Century Panglong Conference will be held successfully. We have reached an agreement on principle from the non-NCA signatory groups that they will attend the conference.”
U Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the Ministry of the President’s Office, was also very satisfied with the meeting.
He said: “The peace journey is not a journey that can be accomplished within a day, and it has been on-going for 70 years. But, I have found that everyone that took part in the discussion have discussed with openness and with patience. Political dialogues will run well only when the framework for political dialogue has been cleared up and everyone have a clear understanding.”
U Kyaw Tint Swe, union minister of the State Counsellor’s Office, said that ethnic armed groups will make up 150 out of 700 seats for the peace conference slated for 31 August.
However, three groups excluded from taking part in the NCA—the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Arakan Army—were noticeably absent from the meeting.
The armed groups met with the government’s Peace Commission in Mong La in eastern Shan State last week to discuss conditions for attendance of the peace conference but neither side could see eye to eye on the wording of a statement that the government required the groups to jointly issue.
In a nutshell, the Myanmar Army is pushing for their unconditional surrender. The groups have expressed interest in ending their armed struggle but want guarantees before any consideration is made towards laying down arms.
None of the other armed groups have been asked to disarm before taking part in discussions.