The three allied ethnic armed groups, the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), haven’t received invitations from the government for the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Conference, or the Union Peace Conference.
Although it’s rumoured that the government had already sent the invitations to the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) to pass on to the three groups. However, they have not received the letters nor has a government official contacted them about the conference, according to the interview with the three allied groups by MNA on August 26.
“We have not heard that Nay Pyi Taw [government official] already sent us the invitations. They [government] have not contacted us. They have not contacted our group either. If they [AA] received the letter, they would inform me about that, but so far no contact and no invitation has been received,” said AA’s Lieutenant Colonel Kyaw Han.
Likewise, the TNLA hasn’t received an invitation from the government yet, although it has been reported in newspapers that the government have already sent the invitations.
“We have not received the invitation letter yet. They [government] said they invited us through the NDAA. The media are also reporting that the invitation letter was already sent to us. But that is not true. We did not get the letter yet and the NDAA also has not contacted us about it yet. If they [gov’t] want to invite us, they can just invite us directly. It seems that they do not want to invite us, and that is why we have so far have not received any invitation. If we are allowed to attend the conference, we are ready to,” said Brigadier General Tar Jode Jar, Vice-chair of TNLA.
Regarding the unsent invitation letters to the three allied groups, when a MNA reporter contacted the preparatory committee of 21st Century Panglong Conference, the phone was left unanswered.
Recently, U Sai Kyaw Nyut, a secretarial member of the joint committee for the 21st Century Panglong Conference, stated that 17 ethnic armed groups would join the conference and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang NSCN-K would join as an observer only. Each group is given 10 minutes to present their group’s policy and areas of concern.
The 21st Century Panglong Conference will take place on August 31 over 5 days at the Myanmar International Convention Center -2, in Nay Pyi Taw. 200 representatives from the ethnic armed groups have been invited to join the conference.