The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) is observing the situation on whether it will attend the upcoming second session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference, also known as the Union Peace Conference, the UNFC’s general secretary Khu Oo Reh said to the Kantarawaddy Times.
If the UNFC members still have not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), they would not attend the conference as special guests and submit a paper through other methods, according to him.
“If we still have not signed [the NCA], we have decided not to attend as observers. We have no reason to submit papers after making this decision. Some [ethnic armed] groups have collected public opinions to submit reports after holding national-level political dialogues. We weren’t allowed to hold national-level political dialogues. We didn’t hold them. Even if we were allowed to hold them, we were told that they won’t accept the results we have obtained. They didn’t tell us not to hold the dialogues. If we are not able to attend the conference as observers, we don’t have any plan to submit a paper,” he explained.
Although the Peace Commission and the Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) have agreed on a nine-point proposal in principle during the meeting held on the first week of March and the DPN have discussed the proposal with UNFC members, the members want to discuss with their own respective organisations so no decision has been made on whether all UNFC members would sign the deal.
According to Khu Oo Reh, they can sign the NCA quickly if a decision on the proposals can be reached before the conference is held.
“Some members made a request to negotiate the proposals that have been agreed in principle with the leaders, political groups, and the public from their respective areas so we still couldn’t set down a decision up to now,” he said.
The Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor announced on 30 March that five UNFC members – the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Arakan National Council (ANC), the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), and the Wa National Organisation (WNO) – will sign the NCA.
However, the UNFC’s vice-chair Nai Hong Sar told RFA on 30 March that some UNFC members have not made any official decisions to sign the NCA and the UNFC will only make a decision after negotiating with the leaders of its member organisations.
The Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor made the announcement after the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech on the occasion of the one year anniversary of the government.
The second session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference is slated to start on the first week of May.
The UNFC’s central executive committee members held an emergency meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 3 April.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron