Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the opening ceremony of the third session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, July 11, 2018. (AUNG SHINE OO / AP)
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar — The third meeting of Myanmar's 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference, which aims to unite all ethnic nationalities and build a democratic federal union, began in Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday.
Representatives of the government, the parliament, the military, political parties, ethnic armed organizations and civil society are attending the conference which will last six days
The third session of the peace conference is scheduled to last six days and follows meetings held in August 2016 and May 2017.
The meeting is set to discuss unfinished fundamental principles on federalism as well as the formulation of new principles for the establishment of a federal union through national-level political dialogue.
The conference will focus on some remaining points related to political, economic, social, security, and land and natural environment sectors, submitted by the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) for inclusion in the union agreement for peace.
The political sector covers points of the rights of ethnic minorities and democratic human rights and gender equality.
Representatives of the government, the parliament, the military, political parties, ethnic armed organizations and civil society are attending the conference.
Among the attendees of government leadership at the opening ceremony were President U Win Myint and Vice Presidents U Myint Swe and U Henry Van Thio, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, speakers of both Houses, Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, and Chairman of the Kayin National Union (KNU) Saw Mutu Sae Poe, who represents the ethnic armed groups.
Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's Defense Services Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing speaks during the opening ceremony of the third session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, July 11, 2018. (AUNG SHINE OO / AP)
The 17 ethnic armed organizations, present at the event, include 10 signatories and seven non-signatories to the Nationwide ceasefire Accord (NCA).
The seven non-ceasefire signatories, also known as Northern Alliance, are: Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the United Wa State Army (UWSA), Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), Mongla's National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Kokang's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta,ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA).