03/02/2018, 14.46
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Naypyitaw announces new Peace Conference for May

Aung San Suu Kyi attempts to end decades of civil wars between government forces and ethnic armies. The postponement was agreed as no public consultations have taken place in the Shan and Rakhine States. The stalemate due to the reluctance of the army.


Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The government of Myanmar and the representatives of the ethnic groups involved in the difficult process of national reconciliation have postponed the third session of the 21st century Panglong Peace Conference (UPC), sue to have taken place in February to May. Spokesman for the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Zaw Htay, made the announcement at the end of the meetings of the Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM) held yesterday in Naypyitaw in the presence of the Lady (photo).

Government officials, senior army officers and representatives of ethnic militias have agreed to postpone due to the fact that local consultations have not yet taken place in the Shan and Rakhine states, due to ongoing conflicts in the two regions. The delegates of the eight ethnic armies took part in yesterday's JICM meeting, and in 2015 they signed a national ceasefire agreement with the central government (NCA). Among them were also members of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Lahu Democratic Party (Ldp), recent signatories of the agreement.

Yawd Serk, president of the Restoration Council of Shan State (Rcss) and commander-in-chief of the Shan State Army-South (Ssa-S) deserted the meeting. In January, the CSRC, one of the dominant organizations in the easternmost state of Myanmar, erased the Shan National Dialogue after the Myanmar army, supported by the national government, prevented public consultations in the region.

The Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (Updjc), a body chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi, is discussing how to overcome the deadlock with the RSC . The commission led by the democratic leader oversees the process of drafting the framework for national political dialogue. This includes the NCA signatories, representatives of political parties, the army and government officials. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is attempting to end decades of civil wars between government forces and ethnic armies, held the first session of the Peace Conference in August 2016, intending to convene more meetings every six months . The second session was held in May 2017.

However, the peace process continues to suffer setbacks due to the inflexibility of the military regarding the principles to follow for the talks and their reluctance to allow public consultations in ethnic states. The leaders of the Tatmadaw [the Burmese army, ed.] insist on the need for armed ethnic organizations (EAOs) to execute orders and not try to negotiate them. In his opening speech of the JICM, Aung San Suu Kyi reiterated yesterday that both sides must listen to the civilian government, called to serve as a mediator.

The Burmese Church supports the efforts of the Burmese leader for national reconciliation, identifying a key component for the successful talks between the government and the minorities in the dialogue between religions, some of them with a strong Christian presence. Card. Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon and the first cardinal of the country's history, has repeatedly promoted inter-religious initiatives. The unity demonstrated by the Catholics during the historic apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Myanmar (27-30 November 2017) was an example for the whole Burmese people and, despite the new tensions, his words continue to find echo throughout the Country. During his visit, the pontiff has repeatedly invoked the peace and reconciliation of the country, inviting the faithful to reject the logic of revenge and the leaders of the Church to "promote unity, charity and rehabilitation in the life of the people" .

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