A coalition of ethnic armed groups that has rejected the current ceasefire-centred peace path met at the United Wa State Army’s headquarters from August 18 to 20.
The seven-member Federal Political Negotiation Consultative (FPNCC) discussed ways to overcome stumbling blocs that have prevented progress in peace talks, according to Brigadier General Tar Bone Kyaw, general secretary of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
“Our committee has previously stated that we will only meet as a seven-member group. The government won’t meet with us [collectively]. We discussed how we can overcome this obstacle and what kind of preparations we should make in the meanwhile,” he said.
Brig-Gen Tar Bone Kyaw added that the FPNCC has made no inroads with the government since the second Union Peace Conference in May when they held a closed-door discussion on the sidelines of the 21st-Century Panglong Conference.
“Peace dialogues have been halted and blocked,” he said.
He added that the government is trying to pursue the UWSA – Myanmar’s largest ethnic armed organization – for bilateral talks.
“The government is trying to approach the Wa [the UWSA] to meet with them. We are negotiating how to overcome this and what we should do to meet with [the government]. They [the government] want to meet us separately or meet us in sub-groups. For example, they want to meet the Kachin Independence Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Arakan Army and the TNLA in one group and the UWSA and the National Democratic Alliance Army in another group,” he said.
The FPNCC was formed in February as an alliance of groups that have not yet signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement. The groups later said they reject the NCA, and will forge an alternative route to peace.
In addition to discussing the possible composition of dialogues with the government, the FPNCC’s three-day Pangkham summit broached the topic of the ongoing fighting in Kachin and northern Shan States.
The meeting was attended by leaders of the UWSA, the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA), the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), the TNLA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA).