An ethnic alliance organization has invited all armed groups to its bi-annual conference in Chiang Mai next week, according to an official.
The United Nationalities Federal Council – an umbrella organization comprised of seven ethnic armed groups that have not yet signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement – will hold its conference from June 20-29.
“There are 21 EAOs [ethnic armed organizations. We have invited all of them,” said U Tun Zaw, general secretary of the UNFC.
“In the first section [of the conference], we will hold a meeting among the UNFC members. The meeting with non-UNFC members will be held in the second section. The first program will take seven days. It will be held from June 20 to 26. The second program will be held from June 27 to 29,” he added.
U Tun Zaw said it was not yet certain how many of the ethnic armed groups would be in attendance.
At least one group has reportedly declined the invitation.
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army’s (TNLA) general secretary Brigadier General Tar Bone Kyaw, said the TNLA will not be present due to the ongoing fighting.
“There are many clashes in our area. We are busy so we won’t be able to attend it,” he said.
The TNLA resigned from the UNFC last year.
At the conference, the UNFC is expected to make decisions regarding applications for new members, or allowing other members to resign. Two of the current seven members, the Kachin Independence Army and the Wa National Organization have both submitted resignation notices that will be discussed.
The UNFC currently includes the KIA, the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), and the Arakan National Council (ANC), the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and the Wa National Organization (WNO).