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Three ethnic militias who continue to battle with government forces in northern Burma have sought to resign as members of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), on the second day of the ethnic armed groups’ summit in Karen State.
Representatives of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA) on 3 June proposed their resignation from the ethnic bloc at the event hosted at the Karen National Union’s Law Khee La headquarters.
All three groups have been engaged in fierce fighting with government forces in the Kokang region, next to the Burma-China border, in recent months.
The MNDAA representatives indicated that the group is looking to quit the NCCT as its leaders in the Kokang region feel discontented with the bloc’s undertakings in the ongoing peace process. The AA also expressed the view that the NCCT’s negotiations with Naypyidaw in arranging a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) have not been inclusive.
The TNLA said the group may also quit alongside the MNDAA and AA due to increasing military tensions with government forces in northern Shan State.
It is expected that the ethnic armed group representatives will discuss the resignation proposal during on Thursday, the third day of the summit.
Speaking to reporters at an NCCT meeting in Thailand’s Chiang Mai last week, the government’s leading peace negotiator, President’s Office Minister Aung Min, said that the MNDAA, TNLA and AA will not be included in the peace deal as they are yet to initiate ceasefire talks with the government.
However, many within the ethnic bloc have been staunchly supportive of presenting a united front.
At the beginning of this week’s conference, the United Nationalities Federal Council Chairman N’Ban La said, “The Kokang and Ta-ang groups are UNFC and NCCT members and we believe that they should also be included in an NCA which would reflect the term ‘nationwide’.”
“I would like to urge [armed groups] to continue with their stance of all-inclusiveness for the NCA,” he said.