The Mon News Agency supports the decision made on Tuesday by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that all ethnic armed organizations, including those that did not sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) in 2015, are free to participate in the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Conference.
MNA acknowledges that inclusion of the country’s 21 ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in the union-level peace conference is an important step towards achieving a successful event, and urges government and EAO leaders to cease all armed conflict in ethnic areas.
Recent statements issued by the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) expressed similar views that ethnic armed groups, regardless of signatory status, must be involved in the conference slated for late August because each has struggled for national equality, self-determination rights and the establishment of a genuine democratic, federal union.
The 9 members of the UNFC that did not sign the NCA are the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Wa National Organization (WNO), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (Kokang) (MNDAA) and Arakan National Council (ANC).
Non-signatory members outside the UNFC bloc are the United Wa State Army, National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K), and Arakan Army.
Ethnic armed groups that signed the NCA with the Thein Sein government last October are the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), Karen National Union (KNU), Chin National Front (CNF), Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Democratic Karen Benevolence Army (DKBA), KNU/KNLA-PC, Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), and All Burma’s Students Democratic Front (ABSDF).