The United Wa State Party, which controls the country’s largest ethnic army, will soon decide whether to participate in nationwide ceasefire talks along with other armed ethnic groups, a spokesperson said.

The UWSP has so far shunned the efforts of other armed groups to negotiate collectively with the government, most recently through the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team, on the grounds that it already has a ceasefire.

However, the UWSP attended the April 5-7 peace talks in Yangon at the invitation of the government’s Union Peace Making Committee – the first time it has participate in talks with other armed ethnic groups. Wa information officer U Aung Myint said its involvement in the peace process may increase in coming months.

“We understand that the nationwide ceasefire aims to strengthen the old state-level and union-level ceasefire agreements that we have signed so we will discuss the issue,” he told reporters on April 5.

“We have reached a compromise with the government for 25 years. There has been developments in our region and the living standards have improved,” he said.

Regardless of whether it takes part in the nationwide ceasefire negotiations, he said the UWSP has already committed to participating in the political dialogue that will follow the signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement.

“[The Wa leadership] said clearly that there is no fighting between the government and the Wa so they don’t need to take part in ceasefire talks. They said they are ready and waiting for political dialogue,” Minister U Aung Min told The Myanmar Times.

Just a day later, on April 6, a separate delegation led by UWSA’s deputy secretary general, Pauk Yu Yi, met Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw and discussed the development of the Wa region, state media reported.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe