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Suu Kyi sends New Year’s greetings to ethnic army leaders

Burma’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has sent a message of seasonal greetings to leaders of several ethnic armed organisations.

Gen. Gun Maw of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) posted a copy of Suu Kyi’s letter, dated 22 December, on his Facebook page. Leaders of other ethnic armed organisations received the same letter. It reads: “The National Reconciliation and Peace Centre [NRPC] wishes you happiness in the New Year.”

The NRPC was established by the President’s Office in July 2016 as a replacement to Myanmar Peace Centre, which hosted many of the meetings and negotiations within the peace process up to that point. The NRPC also assumes a role for overseeing implementation of peace initiatives.

The KIA is not a signatory to the government-backed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), and continues to be engaged in sporadic hostilities or exchanges of gunfire against government forces in northern Shan State.

Although peace-building measures were prioritised in 2017, no other ethnic armed group joined the eight existing signatories to the NCA.

This is the first time that Suu Kyi, as NRPC chairperson, has sent a message of seasonal greetings to Burma’s ethnic armed groups.