Kyaw Zin Win
China is negotiating to set up a meeting between the government Peace Commission and members of Northern Alliance, sources have said.
Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw, general secretary of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) said on Thursday that Sun Guoxiang, Special Envoy of Asian Affairs with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sought views from the Alliance on Wednesday about a meeting between them and the Peace Commission.
“We replied to him that they are ready to meet the Peace Commission if they agree to meet the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) organised by us,” he said.
“The National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) will seek help from Sun Guoxiang to arrange a meeting.”
The government invited members of Northern Alliance including the United Wa State Party (UWSP), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) as guests to the second round of the 21st Century Panglong Conference held at Nay Pyi Taw in May.
The remaining three ethnic armed groups – the Arakan Army (AA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – were not invited. So, initially the armed groups that had been invited decided not to attend the conference, if all members of the Northern Alliance were not invited.
But all seven members of the Northern Alliance were invited to the conference after Sun Guoxiang went to Nay Pyi Taw and met with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
However they only attended the opening ceremony and dinner hosted by the State Counsellor, as they were not allowed to talk in the conference. They also met with the Peace Commission separately.
“Actually they attended the conference because of negotiations by China and now we are in talks to meet with them,” Peace Commission member Aung Soe said.
Some observers said it was unlikely that the Peace Commission would be able to meet all seven members of the North Alliance together. The State Counsellor met representatives of the UWSP, NDAA, KIO and SSPP first and later she met the officials from the AA, TNLA and MNDAA at her home in Nay Pyi Taw.
“The government didn’t meet the Northern Alliance or other ethnic armed groups. The State Counsellor wants to increase the effectiveness of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and the military chief also said they would continue to walk towards peace by using the NCA. So we are hoping that there will be more meetings,” advisory team member Hla Maung Shwe from the Peace Commission, said.
Although the Northern Alliance has yet to accept the ceasefire agreement, members submitted a parliamentary-level nationwide ceasefire agreement and state-level and union-level peace treaty drafted by them to government officials and members of the commission when they stayed at Nay Pyi Taw.
They also distributed copies of these to the public.
In the agreement, there are eight articles and 35 sections about state armed conflicts, military affairs, development of the people, humanitarian assistance facts, political negotiations and implementation.
They also demanded that the president, military chief and State Counsellor sign the agreement from the government side and representatives from ethnic armed groups sign for the opposing side. It said witnesses from local, abroad, the United Nations and China would be included.
The AA, TNLA and MNDAA were not invited to the first round of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference and senior military officials refused to meet them.
However the view of the government and army about them is not yet known.
Translated by Aung Kyaw Kyaw