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Wa, Mongla armies continue talks in Rangoon

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, standing, far left, speaks to UWSA and NDAA representatives in Naypyidaw on 29 July 2016. (Photo: DVB)

Representatives of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) continued talks on Burma’s peace process in Rangoon today following a meeting with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi Naypyidaw last Friday.

The two groups met government peace negotiators on Monday at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC), formerly the Myanmar Peace Centre, to discuss issues related to comprehensive peace negotiations aimed at ending decades of civil war in Burma, dubbed the 21st Century Panglong Conference.

Speaking to DVB on Monday, a representative of the NDAA, based in Mongla, Shan State, said that a key issue is the need to include all armed groups, including three — the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Kokang Army — that were not allowed to take part in peace negotiations that resulted in last year’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

Also mentioned were land issues and the need for resource-sharing, as well as plans to hold future discussions on the right of ethnic armed groups to hold on to their weapons.

At a meeting on Saturday, a government delegation led by the NRPC’s chief negotiator, Dr. Tin Myo Win, held separate talks with the UWSA and NDAA to clarify the purpose of the current discussions, according to Khin Zaw Oo, secretary of the government’s peace commission.

“Since they were not clear about what the discussions set for the beginning of August were for, we explained that we planned to evaluate the guidelines set by the peace commission, and then amend them if necessary,” said Khin Zaw Oo.

Burma’s government, led by Suu Kyi, has said that it aims to begin the 21st Century Panglong Conference no later than the last week of August, following discussions with all relevant stakeholders to decide who should be included in the process.