Monday, September 25, 2017

Peace body wants all ethnic groups at Mai Ja Yang summit

The Peace Commission announced over the weekend that it hopes all armed ethnic groups, including those that did not sign last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement, will attend the Mai Ja Yang summit in Kachin State.

The Peace Commission, headed by Dr Tin Myo Win, was formed on July 11 to facilitate the ongoing peace process.

“As a Peace Commission, we are supporting ethnic armed groups in smooth travel to the Mai Ja Yang summit by presenting their needs to the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre,” the Peace Commission’s statement said.

The Mai Ja Yang summit is meant to gather all ethnic armed groups in the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) stronghold from July 26 to 29 as a lead-up to the 21st-century Panglong Conference, which is scheduled for August.

Ethnic leaders have said the point of the Mai Ja Yang summit is to reinforce the foundation of peace-building efforts, not to try to strengthen their side’s hand before the Panglong Conference.

The Peace Committee already invited the armed groups that did not sign the NCA to participate in the country’s political dialogue.

“The road from the Kachin State capital Myitkyina to Mai Ja Yang is under Tatmadaw control, and ethnic armed groups participating in the summit later this month will not be prevented from using it,” Lieutenant General Mya Tun Oo said on behalf of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at a press conference last week.

Addressing the inclusivity of the Panglong Conference, Lt Gen Mya Tun Oo reiterated a previous call for parties in active conflict with the Tatmadaw to lay down their arms in order to win a seat at the negotiating table.