Another ethnic armed organization has resigned from the United Nationalities Federal Council – an ethnic umbrella organization – amid ongoing negotiations over signing the ceasefire. The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army – North (SSPP/SSA) reportedly submitted its resignation letter on August 12, becoming the third ethnic armed organization to leave the grouping since April.
The UNFC, a bloc of the ethnic armed groups that have not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), has dwindled to just four members.
The SSPP/SSA’s vice chair, Major General Sao Khun Hseng, announced the resignation during an August 18-20 summit in Pangkham, the headquarters of the United Wa State Army (UWSA).
“I want to announce that we submitted a letter to the UNFC’s chairman Nai Hong Sar on August 12, 2017 to allow us to resign from the UNFC,” he said.
The UNFC is now left with just the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and the Arakan National Council (ANC).
In addition to membership in the UNFC, the SSPP/SSA is part of the seven-member Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) led by the UWSA. The FPNCC also includes the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which left the UNFC earlier this year.
The UNFC is currently negotiating with the government’s Peace Commission over preconditions before signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). Both sides have agreed on four out of the eight points.
The FPNCC by contrast has rejected the NCA, and has declared intentions to forge its own path to peace.
The SSPP/SSA has been a member of the UNFC since the grouping was established with 11 members in 2011.