State counsellor to meet Wa, Mongla
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.