Excluded ethnic militias say they’re ready to join peace talks

Excluded ethnic militias say they’re ready to join peace talks

The Arakan Army (AA), Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) have welcomed the Burmese government’s announcement that it is amenable to the suggestion of inviting them to the upcoming peace conference, commonly referred to as the 21st Century Panglong Conference”, or 21CPC.

In a joint-statement on 18 August, the three ethnic armed groups said they were delighted to learn that the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee had confirmed that all ethnic militias – whether signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement or not – would be welcomed at the peace talks, which are set to begin in Naypyidaw on 31 August.

TNLA Secretary Tar Bone Kyaw said the group is ready to join the negotiations.

“We would like to announce that we are ready to attend the 21st Century Panglong Conference and join discussions with our fellow participants to resolve our country’s political issues, and also to end the conflict in the Ta’ang region,” he said.

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The three groups – which had previously been barred from attending the 21CPC – stressed in their statement that the country had endured more than six decades of civil war, and that both the government and ethnic armed groups had until now relied on force of arms to resolve political issues. They said a political dialogue could be the solution which ends the armed conflict.

The AA, TNLA and MNDAA are still engaged in armed hostilities against Burmese forces. Government negotiators previously dismissed calls to allow the three to sit at the peace table until they had disarmed.

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