The Burmese army has launched assaults on Ta’ang rebel positions in Burma’s northeast in response to parliamentary calls for an intervention to end fighting between rebels that has displaced thousands.
The Arakan Army, Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army have welcomed the Burmese government’s announcement that they are invited to the upcoming peace conference.
Insofar as the Union government’s agenda for ethnic reconciliation is concerned, there is little doubt that the north, where the most powerful rebel armies operate, holds the key to a permanent negotiated settlement.
The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) must one day unite under the same banner, according to the leader of the former, who said that such a merger was ultimately necessary given Burma’s current political situation.
A major member of the United Nationalities Federal Council, the Shan State Progressive Party, has submitted a resignation letter to the council, with the ethnic armed group on Sunday revealing its plans to leave the coalition.
Soldiers from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) stand accused of abducting a man in the Hsenwi Township village of Kham Tain on Wednesday evening, releasing him only after a local abbot paid more than 2 million kyats (US$1,460) to the ethnic armed group.
The dwindling alliance of ethnic armed groups joined under the United Nationalities Federal Council banner convenes a conference in Thailand chaired by a leader of one of its former members, the influential Kachin Independence Army.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi opened a second round of peace talks under her government here in the capital on Wednesday, predicting that the coming days would bring “intense discussions, exchanges of views, debates and difficult decisions.”
A negotiating committee representing seven ethnic armed groups in northern Burma says it intends to attend next week’s Union Peace Conference in Naypyidaw, which is being organised by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
Several ethnic armed groups that are not signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) have decided they will not sign the accord and instead are looking to engage in alternative-track peace talks under the leadership of the United Wa State Army.