The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) has not been invited to the 4th Union Peace Conference (UPC), a time when most of Burma’s ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) will meet with the government and Burma Army to discuss the country’s peace process.
Col Nhpang Naw Bu, the head of KIO’s information department, told KNG the central committee would wait for an invitation. “We will attend UPC under the leadership of FPNCC (Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee), if the government invites us.”
FPNCC was established to negotiate with the government on matters of peace and security. Its member groups include KIO, United Wa State Army, National Democratic Alliance Army, Shan State Progressive Party, Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Arakan Army (AA).
The representatives invited to UPC, which will run from August 12-14, have been significantly reduced because of social distancing regulations introduced by the government intended to prevent infections during the pandemic.
Three Brotherhoods Alliance— AA, MNDAA, and TNLA—released a joint statement on July 21 pledging their organizations’ interest in attending the peace conference under the leadership of FPNCC, if their security can be guaranteed.
Nhkum La San Awng, a political analyst, said the government is exploiting the peace conference for its own political advantage by holding it three months before the November 8 election. The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, is almost finished, he said, predicting the conference will do nothing to end the current political impasse that has plagued previous conferences during the country’s long and drawn out peace process.
UPC was supposed to be held every six months, but it has experienced lengthy delays since being announced by Aung San Suu Kyi, following her NLD party’s historic victory during the 2015 general election. The last conference was in 2018. The first two were in 2017 and 2016.