Northern Alliance, Burmese Govt Delegation Meet in China

Monday, December 16, 2019

Members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups held an informal meeting with the Burmese government’s Peace Commission at an undisclosed location in China on Sunday, according to a spokesperson from one of the groups presents.

Delegations from the Arakan Army (AA), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) reportedly attended the meeting with the government’s Peace Commission.

“I heard they were holding an informal meeting… they didn’t tell me about it,” Col Naw Bu, who is in charge of the KIO’s information department, told NMG. Since the meeting was informal in nature, he said the main discussion would happen around “moving political negotiations and dialogue forward.”

KIO general secretary La Nan led his organization’s team to the meeting.

Representatives of the Burmese government and the Burma Army held a meeting with Northern Alliance members in the eastern Shan State city of Kengtung on September 17 and agreed to seven points in the meeting.

Although they agreed to hold a follow-up meeting, none have been scheduled because of the failure to come to an agreement on a meeting location.

Col Naw Bu said that he expects a formal meeting will follow the December 15 meeting in China.

According to Northern Alliance members, the issues deadlocking discussions around a bilateral ceasefire agreement include the repositioning of troops and the formation of a conflict-monitoring committee. The Burma Army has asked the Northern Alliance forces to withdraw their troops from current positions; the Northern Alliance has asked that Chinese representatives be present in a conflict-monitoring committee.

A bilateral agreement would also include committing to negotiations to end ongoing clashes and to further discuss the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, establishing a military code of conduct, opening communication channels and liaison offices, and efforts to resolve displacement crises.