During their first meeting with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, an ethnic Wa delegation pledged to remain within the Union of Burma, rather than opting to split from the country.

Suu Kyi held a closed door meeting with top leaders from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), led by Pao Yu Yi, and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA)—better known as the Mongla Group—led by Sai Leun, for two hours in Burma’s capital.

As chair of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC), Suu Kyi has been holding a series of meetings with Burma’s many ethnic armed groups since June.

“Today’s meeting furthered relations and mutual understanding between the stakeholders. Both sides—the Wa and the State Counselor—openly discussed policies,” said Zaw Htay, the President’s Office spokesperson and member of the sub-committee tasked with reaching out to NCA non-signatories regarding the upcoming Union Peace Conference slated to be held in late August.

“The Wa pledged to stay in the Myanmar Union, and they said they won’t split from the country,” Zaw Htay told the press, adding that there had been no discussion about a separate Wa State, which has been a pressing issue in recent years. The Wa currently have a self-administered zone in Shan State, but have also pushed for an autonomous state of their own.

Wa and Mongla leaders also met the Burma Army chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, in the afternoon.

Government peace negotiator Dr. Tin Myo Win will hold further meetings with the groups on Saturday, in which they will discuss technical issues, added Zaw Htay.

Link: http://www.irrawaddy.com/burma/wa-pledge-not-to-split-from-union.html