FPNCC Won’t Join Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong
By Network Media Group
Saturday, August 15, 2020
The Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), an alliance of seven ethnic armed organizations (EAO) in Burma’s northern Shan State, won’t attend the government’s long-delayed Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong beginning next Wednesday (August 19).
On its website, FPNCC stated that the peace conference is occurring amid the pandemic and since there’s no “medical facilities” or expertise for testing COVID-19 in its member groups’ “mountainous areas” travel at this time is problematic.
The decision not to join was made during an August 13 meeting at the United Wa State Party/Army’s (UWSP/A) Pangkham (Panghsang) headquarters, located along the Chinese border.
FPNCC was started by UWSP/A and other EAOs in northern Shan State to negotiate with the government and Tatmadaw on peace and security. Other members include Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA), Shan State Progressive Party, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and National Democratic Alliance Army.
The FPNCC thanked the state counsellor for inviting six EAOs but regretted the invitation was not extended to AA. If all “stakeholders” are included, “peace can be restored and national reconciliation can be implemented,” the statement said. But because one of its members has been excluded, no-one will be joining.
Lamai Gum Ja, from Kachin peace mediator group PCG, said while the FPNCC won’t join the conference next week, he hopes the negotiation between government and the groups from northern alliance would not be hurt.
FPNCC said to achieve national reconciliation and build a federal union, all stakeholders need to consider different political viewpoints. If there’s a common goal, negotiations will be successful.
Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) is also disappointed that AA was not invited and won’t be joining the conference. But it’s unclear if AA’s exclusion was the reason the EAO decided to opt out. Like FPNC members, KNPP has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
In a controversial maneuver several months ago, political analysts say was intended to weaken the AA after a year of intense hostilities with the Burma Army, the government declared it a terrorist organization.