In a speech published across state media today, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing invited EAO heads to meet with him in person to discuss a return to the peace process.
“2022 will be the year of peace, and armed conflict will end across the country. To effectively implement this peace, I will invite the leaders of ethnic armed groups to meet with me, and I will meet with them. I will host meetings together with other representatives of the State Administration Council. If necessary, we will host more talks,” said the dictator.
EAO leaders have been given until May 9 to accept the invitation, the latest in the long history of the military’s divide and rule strategy. The date of the meeting itself will be set after negotiations are held between the two sides, according to the junta chief.
“The military has already guaranteed the building of a union based on democracy and federalism that has been continuously called for by EAOs. January 4, 2023 is the diamond jubilee of Burma’s independence… The main reason for the conflicts is from misunderstandings between the different ethnic groups. We can fully enjoy the essence of independence only after we solve this,” Min Aung Hlaing said, gaslighting a nation.
The speech was delivered just days after the NUG announced that the armed groups under its umbrella will soon initiate an “offensive” war against the military. The NUG has also made ambiguous claims suggesting that it now has a reliable supply of factory made weapons.
Such developments appear to have put the SAC on alert, and renewed calls for talks with EAO leaders are, more often than not, the military’s knee-jerk reaction to a shifting battlefield dynamic.
Military sources have told DVB that a directive passed to battalion commanders has called for the entire army to observe an emergency state of readiness; whilst Myanmar Now claimed that the families of military officials in Yangon are being escorted to Naypyidaw — a rumor which has tended to avail each time the military has found itself in a potential tight spot since the coup.
Such moves appear to be a response to the NUG’s commencement of its Operation Nann Htike Aung — after months of relatively low-profile operations, the parallel government’s Yangon Region Military Command is, of late, enjoying somewhat of a renaissance following the arrest of its alleged leaders and personnel in November.
Further stoking the fears of the junta, a police source recently told Myanmar Now that a major arms shipment had reached resistance groups in the commercial capital.
Police forces are also believed to be mobilizing into martial formations to protect the military’s troops and assets. The development comes just weeks after the force’s command structure was subsumed by the military.
Fighting and military brutality against civilians has intensified in almost every region of Burma since the start of 2022. Many of Burma’s major EAOs have sworn against negotiating with the military since the coup; the NUG recently claimed that five major armed groups were working directly with the parallel government to train and support PDFs.