RCSS/SSA to Meet State Counselor, Likely to Focus on Ceasefire Monitoring  

By Kyaw Kha 8 September 2017

YANGON — Chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and commander-in-chief of its armed wing the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) General Yawd Serk and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will meet soon, according to sources close to both sides.

General Yawd Serk is likely to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the second week of this month, and will also meet Myanmar Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Snr-Gen Soe Win at the same time, according to sources.

“We will issue a press release on the meeting in a few days,” RCSS/SSA spokesman Col Sai Ngin told The Irrawaddy.

The meeting is likely to focus on ceasefire monitoring since clashes have still occurred frequently between the two sides, despite the RCSS/SSA signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the government in Oct. 2015.

The State Counselor’s Office invited Gen Yawd Serk for talks at the end of August, according to an RCSS/SSA statement released on Aug. 24.

“We welcome the State Counselor’s invitation because it is a move that strengthens mutual trust toward the goal of peace,” read the statement.

The RCSS/SSA will form a working team to make preparations with the government side for the talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also the chairperson of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center.

“We believe the visit will contribute to building trust, the peace process and building a federal Union,” read the statement.

However, Gen Yawd Serk told The Irrawaddy in July that 2017 might not be the “year of peace” that State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Htin Kyaw have envisioned.

President U Htin Kyaw said in his Burmese New Year speech in April that they have aimed for 2017 to be a peaceful year, which State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also stressed in her speech during the second session of the 21st Century Panglong peace conference in May.

There were skirmishes between the two forces in March, April and July this year, and joint ceasefire monitoring committees at the national and state levels have not been able to address the problem.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.