It is critical that the government declares a nationwide ceasefire in order to pursue the 21-century Panglong Conference, scheduled to be held within the next 1-2 months, asserts Nai Hongsar, the Vie-chairman of United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).
“Similar to what Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, it is necessary for the government to declare a nationwide ceasefire as soon as possible in order to implement [the Panglong Conference]. However, this can only be done if the Tatmadaw accepts,” said Nai Hongsar.
Nai Hongsar pointed out that it was nearly one year after the coup led by General Ne Win in 1962 that the then government declared a nationwide ceasefire and granted amnesty. During those years, the government and ethnic armed groups held political dialogue.
“I would like the government, Hluttaw, Tatmadaw, the political parties and all ethnic armed groups to participate in the 21 Panglong Conference and find solutions. It is necessary to have all ethnic armed groups, both NCA signatory and non-NCA signatory armed groups, taking part in the conference,” said Nai Hongsar.
Although there are parallels between the Panglong Conference held in 1947 by General Aung San and ethnic groups on the hills (better known as Frontier Area) and the upcoming Panglong conference, Nai Hongsar added that the past and present situations aren’t exactly the same. Nai Hongar hoped that the aim of the conference could bring the establishment of federal union.
“How Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will hold the 21 century Panglong Conference in the next couple of months is unknown. We also don’t know whom they will hold the conference with. That is a problem. Honestly, I think the biggest problem is that we will see implementation only when the government and Tatmadaw are satisfied”, said U Khun Htun Oo, Chairman of Shan Nationalities League Democracy (SNLD).
U Khun Htun Oo analyzed that although the spirit of the Panglong policy is working towards genuine peace in accordance with the Panglong Agreement, the previous government couldn’t implement the goals within the agreement. While working towards the implementation of the agreement, a Taunggyi policy occurred granting secession from the federal union. Given the reasons to secession, the coup was conducted by General Ne Win in 1962.
At a meeting of the Joint Monitoring Council – Union level, held on April 27, Nay Pyi Taw, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counselor, stated that the 21 century Panglong Conference would be held within the next one or two months.