Raging battles on Burma’s border with China have claimed dozens more lives, military and official sources said Wednesday, as the mounting death toll landed a fresh blow to the government’s faltering peace process.
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.
The head of Burma’s most powerful ethnic armed group has warned that fighting in the country’s restive borderlands has reached a critical point, threatening to derail the government’s wobbling push for peace.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi took the opportunity at a Union Day commemoration in Shan State on Sunday to urge non-signatories to the so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) to drop their reservations and have the “self-confidence” to join the accord.
The United Wa State Army is set for its biggest leadership shake-up in a quarter century, senior sources told Reuters, raising the prospect of a period of instability in a group that is key to Aung San Suu Kyi’s signature peace process.
Women’s rights groups are hopeful that the Ministry of Defence’s words of goodwill to include more women in peace talks at a conference on Friday will result in more female representation at future dialogues.