DVB Multimedia Group

Shan ethnic armed group bids UNFC farewell

The logo of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which was founded in 2011.

A major member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N), has submitted a resignation letter to the council, with the ethnic armed group on Sunday revealing its plans to leave the coalition.

A meeting of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC), which was formed in April by several non-signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, was held on Sunday in Panghsang, Shan State, where the SSPP informed attendees of its decision to quit the UNFC. The resignation letter was submitted on 12 August.

The FPNCC is comprised of seven ethnic armed groups: the SSPP, the Arakan Army, the Kachin Independence Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the United Wa State Army.

An FPNCC delegation attended the second session of the government’s 21st Century Panglong Conference in May, thanks in part to negotiations brokered by Chinese intermediaries.

DVB attempted to contact the chairperson of the UNFC, Nai Hong Sar, but he could not be reached on Monday.

However, the Karenni National Progressive Party’s chief of staff, who is also a member of the UNFC’s central executive committee, told DVB on Monday that the UNFC would decide how to proceed with regard to the SSPP’s resignation letter at an upcoming meeting.

“The meeting will be held at the end of August. The SSPP’s resignation will be listed on the meeting’s agenda. I think they don’t want to ally with the UNFC and it’s no problem. We can continue ourselves,” said Major General Bi Htoo of the Karenni National Progressive Party.

With the SSPP’s exit, the UNFC’s dwindling membership now consists of just four ethnic armed groups — the New Mon State Party, the Karenni National Progressive Party, the Lahu Democratic Union and the Arakan National Council. None is signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

In April, the Kachin Independence Army and the Wa National Organization also left the UNFC, which was made up of 12 members when it was founded in 2011.