Following a meeting at the powerful Wa Army’s summit, the four Northern Alliance members announced they will no longer meet with the government separately. Instead, they will agree to meet only jointly via a new committee formed at Pangkham, the United Wa State Army’s (UWSA) stronghold, during a summit from April 15-19.
The Union Political Dialogue Negotiation Committee (UPDNC) includes seven ethnic armed organizations. The Shan State Army (SSA), the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the UWSA have joined the four original Northern Alliance groups – the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – to form the new negotiating committee.
“We will not meet [the government’s peace commission] separately anymore. Only the committee formed at Pangkham will participate in discussions,” an official from the UWSA who attended the recent meeting told S.H.A.N.
UWSA leader Bao Youxiang urged the ethnic armed organizations to cooperate and find strength in unity. He told the attending groups that ethnic groups have formed many political alliances in the past but they all disappeared due to a lack of common political direction.
The government’s peace commission had been planning on meeting with the TNLA, the AA and the MNDAA before Thingyan, but the meeting has not yet occurred. Previous attempts to meet with the Northern Alliance groups individually also faltered.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron