The leaders of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team cast doubt on whether members of all ethnic armed groups could attend the conference in Pangsang next month aimed at considering a final decision before signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
Khuensai Jaiyen, Managing Director of Pyiduangsu Institute for Peace and Dialogue, said that many NCCT leaders worried that if all of its members could not participate in the upcoming conference, it would be impossible to make the decision on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ethnic Leaders’ Summit is scheduled to be held on 1-3 May 2015 at the Pangsang headquarters of the United Wa State Army. The summit will be co-hosted by the Kachin Independence Army, the National Democratic Alliance Army and the United Wa State Army.
U Aung Myint, a spokesperson of the UWSA said, “Our support for the peace talks and for a peace process has been unwavering. We have prepared to host the conference in our area and the list of the participant groups was made by our committee. The list of the representatives was prepared according to the conference in Law Kee Lar in Karen State and in Laiza, Kachin State. This was before the NCCT signed approval of a draft nationwide ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government on March 31, 2015. However, since the content of this conference has also changed, we will reconsider this.”
NCCT members such as the Wa National Organization (WNO), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Arakan National Council (ANC), Chin National Front (CNF), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), and Karen Peace Council (KPC) were excluded from the invitation list.
“We have received requests from others to join the conference. We will hold a meeting in order to avoid excluding any group,” U Aung Myint said.
According to a source close to NCCT, there are only 12 ethnic armed organizations on the invitation list, namely the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), United Wa State Army (UWSA), Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Arakan Army (AA), and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).