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The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has vowed to work towards a political dialogue for peace with the new government that forms after next week’s general election in Burma, regardless of which party takes power.
In a speech to mark the opening of the militia’s 2nd summit at its headquarters in Panghsang, located along the Chinese border in eastern Shan State, Bao Youxiang, the Wa rebel leader, said his group is prepared to work with any party that wins the 8 November elections.
Bao urged the new government to seriously consider restoring “genuine” ethnic minority rights; and to find political solutions to ethnic issues instead of resorting to military means. He also called on the next government to endorse a national reconciliation process based on the “Panglong spirit”, and to establish a genuine federal union in Burma.
Ethnic armed groups that didn’t sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on 15 October were invited to the conference in Panghsang from 1 to 3 November, when they discussed their individual stances on the upcoming election and future ceasefire negotiations.
Of the 12 armed groups invited to Panghsang, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang said it was unable to attend due to the long distance involved, however all other groups were present.
Read more about Burma’s faltering Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
Read more about the UWSA.