Four ethnic armed organisations including the largest, the United Wa State Party (UWSP), did not attend the first day of the four-day plenary meeting of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) which began yesterday and was attended by 17 EAOs.
21 EAOs were invited to attend the meeting which is being held from July 26 to 29 but United Wa State Party/United Wa State Army (UWSP/UWSA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) or Kokang, Palaung State Liberation Front or Ta’ang National Liberation Army (PSLF/TNLA) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland -Khaplang (NSCN-K) did not go.
Spokesman for the Plenary meeting organising committee Padoh Kwe Htoo Win told Mizzima, “The Wa cannot come and attend the 21-party plenary meeting as the meeting coincides with their appointment with the Union government and senior leaders. The Kokang, Palaung and Naga organisations did not inform us of the reasons for their absence from the meeting. Maybe they have some difficulties in attending.”
The first day of the plenary meeting was attended by over 90 delegates and over 200 observers. Present were representatives from the United National Federal Council (UNFC) and signatory organisations to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
“Today we looked at the Panglong agreement and invited experts on historical facts to make it more comprehensive we made deletions and also insertions. We thought about what the Panglong commitments are and the emergence of the Union of Myanmar because of the historical Panglong Conference,” Padoh Kwe Htoo Win said.
Women’s League of Burma (WLB), United Nationalities Association (UNA) and Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF) were invited to attend the meeting as delegates. Also present were the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Myanmar Mr Vijay Nambiar and People’s Republic of China’s Special Envoy for Asia Pacific Mr Sun Guo Xiang.
The first session of the plenary meeting was chaired by UNFC Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) Gen. N’ Ban La. The meeting organising committee chairman Khu Oo Reh, UN special envoy, and the PRC’s special envoy also delivered speeches on the first day of the meeting.
In his opening speech, Gen. N’ Ban La said that the government had a plan to hold a 21st-century Panglong conference and it was important for ethnic nationalities to have a common attitude, common agenda and common stance for the shaping of a future federal union.
Moreover, he called for unity and confidence among ethnic nationalities irrespective of signatory or non-signatory status of the NCA and said there should not be any restrictions on them, and to avoid anything which could undermine their unity and confidence. He also reminded them that ethnic nationalities’ unity was important for the emergence of a genuine federal union.
In his address delivered at the opening day of the plenary meeting, organizing committee chairman Khu Oo Reh said that there were four main topics at the meeting (1) deliberation and approval of the Panglong paper (2) the basic principles of the constitution of the federal democratic union (3) basic principles for security and defence, and (4) reviewing and amending the framework for political dialogue.