Myanmar set to commence Panglong Peace Conference

Myanmar will hold the fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference today following a pandemic-induced delay. The conference

Myanmar NYT

Photo: NYT

Myanmar will hold the fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference today following a pandemic-induced delay.

The conference has been a hallmark of negotiating peace settlements between the government and ethnic armed organisations (EAOs). This meeting aims to finalise negotiations for Part III of the Union Accord, following points of agreement at last week’s Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM).

While State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has reiterated her commitment to democratic reform that recognises the rights of ethnic minorities, she acknowledges the need for national reconciliation and an end to violence first. It is expected that the conference will encourage non-signatories to accede to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Ten EAOs have signed the NCA with the government thus far since its implementation in 2015. These steps lend themselves to the long-term goal of establishing a democratic federal union in Myanmar.

However, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC)—a large alliance of seven EAOs—has stated it will be absent from the proceedings due to COVID-19 concerns. FPNCC’s absence and the active exclusion of the Arakan Army (which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the government) from the ensuing negotiations make it likely that talks will follow the precedence of previous Union Accord deliberations; some reconciliation may be achieved, but the path will be protracted and inconclusive.

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