Govt: Union Peace Conference Session to Be Held Before 2020 Election


Monday, October 21, 2019

The fourth session of the Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, will be held before Burma’s 2020 general election, the spokesperson for the President’s Office has said.

“The government has proposed that the fourth Union Peace Conference be held early next year… the EAOs (ethnic armed organizations) have already agreed to it,” spokesperson Zaw Htay said to media outlets after an informal meeting with EAOs in Chiang Mai, Thailand on October 18.

According to Zaw Htay, participants in the peace conference will discuss federal principles and the peace process post-2020. The proposal, he said, has three parts.

“The first part is about federal structure—for example, we will try to get a common agreement on what kind of federal nation we want to build,” Zaw Htay explained. “In the second part, we will try to come to an agreement on federal principles. The third part is that we will try to get an agreement on how to move the peace process forward in the post-2020 election period.”

He added that the 51 points regarding basic federal principles addressed in the last Union Peace Conference session would be combined with the points agreed upon in the fourth session, and then federal policy would be drawn up that reflects these points.

Gen Yawd Serk of the Restoration Council of Shan State and the acting chairperson of the Peace Process Steering Committee (PPST)—made up of EAOs signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)—urged the NCA-signatory EAOs to list the basic federal principles that they would like to have approved in the upcoming conference session.

He made the statement in his opening speech at the three-day PPST meeting from October 10-12.

“Burma will have 2020 general elections. So the basic principles of federalism need to be approved in the 21st Panglong Conference. Then implementation of the peace process and the building of a federal Union will go well post-2020,” Gen Yawd Serk said.

The first Union Peace Conference session was held from August 31-September 4, 2016.

The second was held from May 24-28, 2017 and the third from July 11-16, 2018.

While the government initially aimed to hold the conference every year, it stopped after the government and NCA-signatory EAOs found themselves in a political deadlock, particularly after the third round of the conference.