The 21st Century Panglong Conference, the government’s upcoming forum for union-level peace talks, will be held every six months and non-signatories to last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) will be permitted to participate, according to announcements following a meeting of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC).
The decision was made yesterday at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of UPDJC members that included representatives and officials from parliament, government, the Armed Forces, or Tatmadaw, ethnic armed groups, and political parties.
“The 21st Century Panglong Conference, or Union Peace Conference, will take place on August 31. At this UPDJC meeting, ethnic armed groups and the government agreed to hold the conference every six months,” said U Zaw Htay, spokesperson for the President’s Office and member of the conference’s preparations committee.
The UPDJC also approved the principle of all-inclusion for the five-day conference, stating that participants will be given equal status regardless of signatory status to the NCA signed by eight ethnic armed organizations last October.
“For our country, to have peace is of the utmost importance. If our country does not have peace, we cannot adequately fulfill the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone in the union,” said State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the UPDJC.
Conference topics will include politics, defense, the economy, social welfare, and the environment and natural resources, according to U Zaw Htay.