Thursday, May 25, 2017

Press conference on first day of Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session)

 May 24, 2017
Following the first day meeting of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session), members of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) secretariat Dr. Hlan Hmon  Sar Khaung, Sai Kyaw Nyunt, U Hla Maung Shwe, Lt-General Khin Zaw Oo (retired) and U Zaw Htay held a press conference with local and foreign media.

Lt-General Khin Zaw Oo (retired) said papers resulting from six state and regional level political dialogues were combined by various work committees in March and papers on five sectors were coordinated and discussed in the UPDJC secretariat. These matters will be discussed in detail by sections on the second day of Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session).

During the 12 May UPDJC meeting, decisions and agreements were reached on 21 points in six titles on the political sector, 10 points in seven titles on economic sector, four points in the social sector, and six points in the land and environmental sector for a total of 41 points. These matters will be discussed in detail on the second day of Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session). The UPDJC secretariat will record the discussion and will work to confirm it at the final day of the congress.
Dr. Hlan Hmon  Sar Khaung said this conference is different from the previous one where proposals can be submitted.

“Especially in the political sector, points in the six basic principles can be submitted. Things that our ethnic nationals asked for both military and politically for years were combined in the national level political dialogue and UPDJC meeting in order to achieve agreement were submitted. If some sort of agreement is reached from these submissions in the congress, it will be a valuable and important milestone. We will have to continue discussions”, he said.

Foreign and local media then asked about the seven armed groups from the northern alliance taking a path outside of the NCA, the status of the United Nationalities Federation Council’s (UNFC) continued participation in the peace process and NCA path, the matter of the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) previously not invited by the Government and the Tatmadaw attending the conference and their opinion about it.

On the matter of the UNFC, U Zaw Htay said the UNFC met many times both officially and unofficially with the Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN). They participated in drawing up the framework and involved in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) process. At the same time, the path is to discuss nine points proposed for inclusion in the NCA. We will continue discussions in this way and will keep the door open, he said.

On the difference between the NCA and the northern alliance group taking a path outside of the NCA, Lt-General Khin Zaw Oo (retired) said, “We will go along the NCA path. There is no path outside of NCA. UPDJC could not discuss with the northern alliance group and the Peace Commission is discussing this matter. Higher authorities will decide on this matter.”

U Zaw Htay said the State Counsellor in her conference opening speech mentioned about expanding the coverage of the NCA and the government expanding the NCA to keep the peace door opened for participation of ethnic groups who hadn’t signed it. On the matter of northern alliance group members AA, TNLA and MNDAA, U Zaw Htay said, “Our nation is a sovereign state. This is taking the form of an internal discussion. China is involved as a consultant. The northern alliance group and China are connected geopolitically. We are invited as a special invitee. Initially, the three northern alliance groups were not invited. We invited the two groups that were not in the UNFC. Later, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) (Monglar) were invited. After inviting each group, the remaining three northern alliance group proposed their wish to attend, and the governemnt and Tatmadaw coordinated and invited them. The invitation was made by the decision of the UPDJC secretariat.

Sai Kyaw Nyunt said this congress came about from the NCA and commented further that the attendance of the northern alliance group is certainly progress and not too far from the NCA.
Ye Gaung Nyunt

Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar

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