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A spokesperson for the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has confirmed recent media speculation that the ethnic coalition Northern Alliance is willing to sit down for peace talks with Burmese government negotiators following a month of hostilities in northern Shan State.
“We have been negotiating a meeting, but we don’t yet know when it will take place. No date has been set yet,” said TNLA General-Secretary Ta Bhone Kyaw.
The TNLA is one of four ethnic partners in the newly proclaimed Northern Alliance – alongside the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and Arakan Army – who in November launched synchronised attacks on Burmese military and police outposts in northern Shan state’s Muse district, sparking a series of heavy clashes.
Burma’s domestic media have recently reported that the Northern Alliance has been in discussions with the government’s Peace Commission chairperson Dr Tin Myo Win about the possibility of initiating talks in the near future in the southern Chinese city of Kunming.
The Peace Commission, chaired by Tin Myo Win, was formed in July this year with the aim of facilitating the ongoing peace talks with other ethnic armed groups. To date, the four members of the Northern Alliance have been excluded from such negotiations.
Speaking to DVB, TNLA spokesman Ta Bhone Kyaw said the Alliance also wanted to invite the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to any future meeting as an observer. The Wa army has also been side-lined – though mostly by its own volition – from the peace talks known commonly as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, which is being headed by Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“We would like our ally the UWSA to join the meeting as an observer, but the Burmese government representatives did not want that,” said the TNLA general-secretary. “The government is being picky about who they will meet.”
Earlier in December, the Northern Alliance released a statement, calling on the government to cease hostilities, and hinting that it would be willing to engage in dialogue.