Three ethnic armed groups prefer to meet peace commission together

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) will not meet the government-formed peace commission separately if they get a chance to meet the commission together, Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw, general secretary of the TNLA and member of Northern Alliance said on Thursday.
 
The Northern Alliance has four members: the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
 
Although Dr Tin Myo Win, chairman of the commission, offered to meet with three of the four members of the Northern Alliance through Sun Guoxiang, China’s special envoy for Asian affairs, before Thingyan, the meeting did not eventuate. 
 
The commission offered again to meet after Thingyan and they were likely to meet in a few days, the Northern Alliance has said.
 
A total of seven ethnic armed groups including four members of the Northern Alliance formed the Union Political Dialogue Negotiation Committee (UPDNC) at the Fourth Ethnic Armed Groups Conference held at Pangkham, headquarters of the United Wa State Party (UWSP) from April 15-19.
 
Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw said: “The UPDNC will meet with the peace commission and we will not meet the peace commission separately. It will be a waste of time if the peace commission meets us separately. 
 
“We formed the committee to discuss political affairs and how to stop fighting. All seven ethnic armed groups agreed to form the UPDNC.”
The commission chairman was contacted via Sun Guoxiang to meet the TNLA, AA and MNDAA on April 7 and 8. 
 
However, the three ethnic armed groups refused the offer and said they were not free, as the AA was due to hold its annual conference on April 9 and 10. 
 
Both sides agreed to meet on April 11 and 12 but the peace commission informed them that they could not meet them on those days due to Thingyan holidays. The peace commission asked Sun Guoxiang to arrange a meeting after Thingyan and they learned about it from the office of the Chinese envoy, he said.
 
Although the Northern Alliance set policy to meet the government peace commission along with China and the UWSP, the three armed groups – the TNLA, AA and MNDAA – agreed to meet the commission after Thingyan after talks with Sun Guoxiang, he said.