State counsellor to meet Wa-led coalition of ethnic armed groups

State counsellor to meet Wa-led coalition of ethnic armed groups

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with seven allied ethnic armed groups that are not signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on the sidelines of the ongoing 21st Century Panglong Conference in the capital on Friday, a government official has confirmed.

The announcement came after government Peace Commission chair Dr. Tin Myo Win characterised a closed-door meeting Thursday with the ethnic bloc at the Horizon Hotel in Naypyidaw as a “social event” and trust-building exercise.

The seven-member coalition, informally led by the United Wa State Army, also counts among its ranks the Shan State Army-North, Kachin Independence Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, National Democratic Alliance Army, Arakan Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

The grouping, which has dubbed itself the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee, gave warning in April that they would reject the negotiating framework of the NCA and instead follow a Wa-initiated path to peace.

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Military Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing appeared to make reference to the possible breakaway effort in his Panglong summit opening remarks on Wednesday morning, when he notified ethnic armed groups that such attempts would be seen as “tantamount to grabbing power and splitting from the Union through armed struggle line.”

But speaking at the peace conference’s end-of-day press conference on Thursday, President’s Office spokesperson Zaw Htay told reporters that the state counsellor will meet with the FPNCC in two sessions tomorrow — one involving the KIA, SSA-N, UWSA and NDAA; and the other bringing together the MNDAA, AA and TNLA.

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