Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of past con­fer­ence pre­vails for 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long

The Myanmar Times - - News - – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Lun Min Mang, trans­la­tion by San Layy SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

U KYAW Tint Swe, minister for the Of­fice of the State Coun­sel­lor, said about 700 rep­re­sen­ta­tives are ex­pected to at­tend the so-called 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence late this month, with a ros­ter in struc­ture cloning pre­vi­ous high­level peace talks con­vened in Jan­uary un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

The se­nior minister was speak­ing yes­ter­day in re­sponse to a query from Amyotha Hlut­taw law­maker U Kyaw Ni Naing (USDP; Shan 11), who was seek­ing clar­ity on the sum­mit, al­ter­na­tively re­ferred to as a fol­low-up to the Union Peace Con­fer­ence held early this year.

Tak­ing a page from the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s peace ne­go­ti­a­tions play­book, the con­fer­ence will in­clude rep­re­sen­ta­tives num­ber­ing 150 for each of the Tat­madaw, eth­nic armed group sig­na­to­ries to the so-called na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment and po­lit­i­cal par­ties; 75 from both the ex­ec­u­tive branch and par­lia­ment; and 50 each for eth­nic and “other rel­e­vant” rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in line with the pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the Jan­uary meet­ing.

Though the al­lo­ca­tions are the same, many of the faces present will be new, with both par­lia­ment and the ex­ec­u­tive now dom­i­nated by the Na­tional League for Democ­racy, ver­sus a Jan­uary sum­mit in which those two branches were con­trolled by the Union Sol­i­dar­ity and De­vel­op­ment Party.

Not ad­dressed yes­ter­day was whether seats would be al­lot­ted to eth­nic armed groups granted “ob­server” sta­tus, as was the case for 50 del­e­gates from non-sig­na­to­ries to Oc­to­ber’s NCA.

What kind of sta­tus non-sig­na­to­ries will be af­forded at the up­com­ing peace talks re­mains an un­known, with U Kyaw Tint Swe de­clin­ing to com­ment on the is­sue when asked by a re­porter yes­ter­day.

The Union minister said a fi­nalised list of con­fer­ence at­ten­dees and a re­view of the frame­work for po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue would be dis­cussed and ap­proved at a meet­ing of the Union Peace Di­a­logue Joint Com­mit­tee (UPDJC). That meet­ing is slated for mid-Au­gust, U Kyaw Tint Swe told me­dia at the hlut­taw com­plex.

But Colonel Sai La, spokesper­son for the Restora­tion Coun­cil of Shan State, said yes­ter­day that U Kyaw Tint Swe’s an­nounce­ment was out of place, and such lo­gis­tics should be de­ter­mined only af­ter the frame­work has been set­tled.

“Since it is a com­po­si­tion is­sue of the frame­work and the re­view meet­ing for the frame­work has not started yet, I think such an­nounce­ments should come later,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment an­nounced this week that the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence would con­vene on Au­gust 31.

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