State coun­sel­lor to meet Wa, Mongla

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­

DAW Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with two pow­er­house eth­nic armed groups in the cap­i­tal later this week, as the govern­ment lays the ground­work for the much-an­tic­i­pated Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence slated for next month.

The two-day meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Wa and Mongla start­ing on July 29 will focus on ar­range­ments for the Au­gust sum­mit, ac­cord­ing to U Khin Zaw Oo, one of the govern­ment ne­go­tia­tors and a re­tired lieu­tenant gen­eral.

The two pow­er­ful eth­nic armed groups, the Wa and the Mongla, have al­ready agreed to at­tend the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence. Nei­ther the United Wa State Army (UWSA) nor the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance Army (NDAA) signed the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment last year. How­ever, the two groups en­joy full ad­min­is­tra­tion of ar­eas carved out of Shan State un­der deals made with Myan­mar’s for­mer mil­i­tary regime.

Last week, mem­bers of a Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence prepa­ra­tion com­mit­tee vis­ited the UWSA-con­trolled ter­ri­tory and the NDAA’s ad­min­is­tra­tive zone and in­vited the lead­ers of both groups to meet with the state coun­sel­lor in Nay Pyi Taw.

“I think the meet­ing [with the state coun­sel­lor] will be ben­e­fi­cial for the peace con­fer­ence,” said U Khin Zaw Oo. “The eth­nic armed group lead­ers will ar­rive in Nay Pyi Taw on July 27 and 28. The state coun­sel­lor will re­turn to Yan­gon from Laos on July 27 and will go to Nay Pyi Taw on July 28, and then the meet­ing will be held on July 29 and 30.”

U Kyi Myint, spokesper­son for the NDAA, said the group’s lead­ers will be miss­ing out on the Mai Ja Yang sum­mit of all eth­nic armed groups in order to meet the state coun­sel­lor.

“We chose the Nay Pyi Taw meet­ing. We can­not say what we will dis­cuss in the meet­ing ex­cept that it will be about the peace con­fer­ence. The meet­ing will the first time we will meet the state coun­sel­lor,” he said.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi heads the 11-mem­ber Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­ter. Ear­lier this month she held a sim­i­lar ground­work meet­ing with the lead­ers from the United Na­tion­al­i­ties Fed­eral Coun­cil (UNFC), a bloc of nine eth­nic groups that did not sign the NCA.

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