The All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP), one of two predominant ethnic Mon political parties, has decided it will not attend the 8th Mon National Conference organized by the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and held in territory administered by the ethnic armed organization.
The decision was announced following AMDP’s central executive meeting at its headquarters in Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State, formerly known as Moulmein.
“With the current situation, there have been discussions about contact with unlawful associations according to article 17/1 of the law. Due to difficulties related to the conference’s location in NMSP area, AMDP will not be able to join,” said Nai Chan Toy, AMDP’s Vice-chairman (2).
NMSP representatives met with AMDP members in July to encourage the political party to participate in the three-day conference, after which AMDP asked the armed group to release a statement acknowledging the party’s work.
The NMSP responded to the request, holding a press conference in Moulmein later that month and releasing a statement that, “The AMDP is a political party that works on behalf of Mon people.”
The Mon National Conference was designed to include 40 members from the NMSP, 30 from Mon political parties like the AMDP and the Mon National Party (MNP), and 40 representatives from Mon civil society organizations, according to Mi Kon Chan Non, deputy leader of the organizing committee.
“At the [Mon National] conference, two main topics will be discussed. One is the unification of Mon people. The other is the development of a plan to inform the 21st Century Panglong Conference. We should discuss how to present one voice at that conference. Of these two topics, preparations for the peace conference will be prioritized,” said Nai Win Hla of the NMSP’s Home Affairs Department.
The Mon National Conference is scheduled to start August 22 in Taungpauk Village of Karen State’s Kyarinnseikkyi Township.
“Our objective is to have everybody involved. National unity must be prioritized at the [meeting]. If this is not fulfilled, it will cause difficulties in the long run. That subject must be our focus and negotiation must be done to strengthen our future work,” said Mi Kon Chan Non.
Members of the Mon National Party were not appointed to the organizing committee, but are part of the conference’s management group.
Topics covered at the 7th Mon National Conference, held in Mawlamyine in 2013, included preparations for a Mon National Convention, unification of ethnic Mon people, the establishment of lasting peace in the Union, and the inclusion of Mon people in development projects.