Ethnic Armed Groups Not Recognized By Thein Sein’s Govt Announce Their Readiness to Join the Pin Long Conference

Three ethnic armed organizations not recognized by the previous military backed government as part of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement have said they are prepared to attend upcoming political dialogue if they are invited.

The three armed groups – the Myanmar National Truth and Justice Party/ Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNTJP/MNDAA), the United League of Arakan Army/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) and the Palaung State Liberation Front/ Ta’ang National Liberation Army (PSLF/TNLA) were all excluded from the NCA. The three groups have now issued a position statement to attend the 21st Century Pinlong Conference which is scheduled to be held on August 31, 2016.

The three groups put out the statement after the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) decided at a meeting on August 15 in Naypyidaw that armed groups that did not signed the NCA should have the right to take part in the peace conference.

Colonel Tar Hpone Kyaw of the TNLA spoke to Karen News about the statement.

“We’ve heard that the UPDJC meeting held on August 15, led by Daw Aung San Su Kyi, accepted the all-inclusiveness principle. We understand that if they accept all-inclusiveness, all ethnic armed groups have the right to attend. So we will also have the right to attend the conference. We made our position known that if we’re invited by the committee and have right to attend, we are ready.”

Restrictions on all-inclusiveness was placed by the NCA, that was signed on October 15, 2015 under the Thein Sein government. The three armed organizations were excluded from signing the NCA that led to several other armed organizations withdrawing from signing the NCA.

A position statements put out by the Burma Army regarding the all-inclusiveness at the Pinlong conference made it harder for the three groups to attend the conference.

Major Kyaw Han form the Arankan Army spoke to Karen News about the issue.

“We have made our decision to attend the conference based on the principle of all-inclusiveness that was accepted [by UPDJC) and we don’t take into consideration the military’s [Burma army] position. We don’t know if our position will be implemented or not, it will depend on the decision makers [on government’s side]. We see that if fighting continues, it will hinder the peace process and the political dialogue will not be able to move forward.”

The statement issued by the three armed groups said that the groups would like to take part in the latest peace process managed by the government, military and ethnic armed organizations and said that they want to stop fighting against each other and to try solve problems through political dialogue.

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