Tuesday, July 25, 2017

No remarks from UNFC at Panglong

The United Nationalities Federal Council – an alliance of seven ethnic armed groups that did not sign last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement – will not be allowed deliver opening remarks at the Panglong Conference which starts tomorrow in Nay Pyi Taw, the government has announced.

President’s Office deputy director general U Zaw Htay said yesterday that a decision had been made at a meeting of the preparation committee for the Panglong Conference to allow only one representative for all of the ethnic armed groups to speak at the opening ceremony.

“One representative from the NCA signatory groups will deliver remarks,” he said.

But Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win, general secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), told The Myanmar Times that the conference should have an all-inclusive policy, and that a representative of the non-signatory groups should be allowed to make remarks.

“During the preparation committee meeting, we submitted two leaders’ names – one for signatory groups and one for non-signatory groups – but our request was rejected,” he said.

“We nominated KNU chair General Mutu Say Poe to make remarks on behalf of the signatory groups. For the non-signatory groups, we named [Kachin Independence Organisation] vice chair General N Ban La if they will allow him to speak,” Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win said.

Remarks will be delivered at tomorrow’s opening ceremony by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, one speaker each from the Pyithu Hluttaw and the Amyotha Hluttaw, representatives for the political parties and the ethnic armed groups, and United Nations general secretary Ban Ki-moon. Each speaker will be given 15 minutes.