Don’t blame Wa for Panglong walkout, says govt

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly told officials not to assign blame for Thursday’s dramatic walkout by a Wa delegation at the 21st Century Panglong Conference, saying that those involved in the peace process should remain focused on national reconciliation.

A group of conference attendees from the United Wa State Army abruptly left Nay Pyi Taw on the second day of the conference over a dispute stemming from improper accreditation.

After being given observer passes instead of accreditation as conference participants, the delegation, which was led by the head of the UWSA’s outreach office in Kengtung, were told to leave the capital by the group’s headquarters in Panghsang.

“We don’t have to blame anyone. Sometimes, these things happen,” government spokesman U Zaw Htay told reporters on Friday, conceding the delegation may have felt offended by the mistake.

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Dr Lian Hmung Sakhong, the leader of the Chin National Front and a member of the conference organising committee, said the UWSA’s withdrawal had not arisen from a deliberate attempt to exclude the group from participating in the conference.

“It’s not an act of discrimination against race, politics or organization,” he told reporters, adding that he hoped the UWSA would send more senior leaders to the next Union Peace Conference in order to prevent future misunderstandings.

Proceedings at the conference concluded on Saturday afternoon after it was decided a planned fifth day for presentations was not needed.

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