Nay Pyi Taw, July 17 (IANS) Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday held talks on the country’s peace process for the first time with armed groups non-signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord.
The meeting in Yangon with the armed groups, represented by the United Nationalities Federal Council’s Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN), came ahead of a four-day ethnic summit planned for July 26-29 in Maijayan, northernmost Kachin state, controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation.
Aung San Suu Kyi had discussions with the DPN, headed by U N’Ban La, chairman of the UNFC.
U N’Ban La is from the KIO, while other key DPN delegation members included U Say Htin of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), Khun Abel Thut of the Karreni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and Nai Htaw Mon of the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
According to the decision of the July 8 Chiangmai meeting involving both signatories and non-signatories, the upcoming four-day Maijayan ethnic summit, to be attended by 55 ethnic armed groups, will lay down a common stance in preparation for attending the government-sponsored Panglong Conference slated for late August in Nay Pyi Taw.
The Panglong Conference Preparatory Committee decided to allow the NCA non-signatories to join the Panglong Conference to ensure access for them to political dialogue.
Suu Kyi has outlined the policy guidelines for the peace process which include allowing non-signatory groups to the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) to join the Panglong Conference, relaxation of restriction on inviting political parties that do not hold a parliamentary seat to the conference and functions of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in dealing with international donors and their assistance to the peace process.
The former Myanmar government and eight ethnic armed groups out of 15 signed the NCA on October 15, 2015 and there remains seven other armed groups who have yet to sign the accord.