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Myanmar to hold 3rd meeting of Panglong peace conference in July

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Myanmar has set July 11 for holding the third meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference, local media quoted an official of the State Counselor's Office as saying on Tuesday.

U Zaw Htay, director-general of the State Counselor's Office, said the date was agreed at a secretariat meeting of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) on Monday.

The Panglong peace conference will focus on security matters with armed groups as well as minority rights and gender equality in politics which highlight the federal policy, he said, adding that the government will continue negotiation on inviting non-ceasefire signatory armed groups to the meeting.

On Feb. 13, the New Mon State Party and the Lahu Democratic Union signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) with the government, becoming the first two armed groups joining the NCA in time of the incumbent government, led by the National League for Democracy.

Their joining has brought the total of such signatories to 10 since the first signing with eight armed groups on Oct. 15, 2015.

In April's peace negotiation between the government and the Kayinni National Progressive Party, which represents the third armed group the incumbent government targets, the KNPP pledged commitment to joining the NCA as soon as possible, agreeing to follow some three points in the short term before signing the NCA. The joining is expected to be realized in the upcoming third session of the Panglong peace conference.

Following the 2015 initiation of the NCA, the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conferences were held twice during the incumbent government in August 2016 and May 2017 respectively.

The second meeting of the peace conference was able to incorporate a total of 37 adopted principles into a union accord in the country's peace process for the first time in Myanmar's history.

The upcoming third meeting of the Panglong peace conference is expected to further discuss unfinished fundamental principles on federalism as well as the formulation of new principles for the establishment of a federal union.

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