In her speech delivered on the first day of the Union Peace Conference- 21st Century Panglong, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stated that the nationwide ceasefire agreement is the first step for not only peace but also the establishment of a democratic federal union.
Arakanese and other ethnic representatives in attendance expressed low confidence that the conference currently taking place in Naypyidaw will in itself lead to a federalist system for Burma.
U Oo Hla, Pyithu Hluttaw MP from Mrauk U Township for the Arakan National Party (ANP), told Narinjara News that the current process is just one stage of a long journey that lies ahead.
Amyotha Hluttaw MP Daw Htu May from Ann Township, said that peace will only happen after ethnic people are granted autonomy.
Arakan State Chief Minister U Nyi Pyu said: “In order to establish a genuine federal union, a common understanding that is accepted by everyone is important. If the common understanding is successful, stability and development would be more effective in Arakan State.”
U Tun Zaw, joint secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council and general secretary of the Arakan National Council, agreed that the conference alone won’t satisfy the needs of the ethnic people. This can only be achieved with unity among the national forces, including the Arakan National Council, Arakan Liberation Party and Arakan Army.
The latter group, as well as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, have been excluded from participating in peace talks altogether, unless they agree in writing a willingness to surrender.
Reporting by Shwe Ya Aung for Narinjara News
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by BNI staff