Shan General: 2017 Not a ‘Year of Peace’

By Kyaw Kha 21 July 2017

CHIANG MAI, Thailand – Gen Yawd Serk, chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), has said that 2017 may not be the “year of peace” that State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Htin Kyaw envisioned.

He made the remark at a Friday press conference regarding the military’s objection to a meeting by the Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU), a coalition of Shan political parties, ethnic armed groups and civil society groups, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

“If the situation continues as it is, it cannot be,” the general said, responding to The Irrawaddy’s question on the “year of peace.”

For the idea to succeed, Yawd Serk said, “first we need to be constructive. Our leaders have to build mutual trust. We must have a common understanding on every agreement we made, whether they are bilateral, Union level or the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). But we now have none of it.”

President U Htin Kyaw said in his New Year speech 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.

But the peace process under President U Htin Kyaw is in limbo and faces deadlock, especially due to the Tatmadaw not following the NCA path, said Gen Yawd Serk. The RCSS is one of eight ethnic armed group signatories to the NCA, which was also signed by the government and the Tatmadaw in October 2015.

Despite signing the ceasefire agreements, Yawd Serk said the RCSS and Myanmar Army troops had experienced clashes. The RCSS complained about the clashes through the Shan State Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, but there has been no intervention yet, he said.

The chairman also said they had contacted people at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and asked about the objection to the CSSU meeting issued by the military attaché from the Myanmar embassy. He said they were told that the government did not prevent the meeting from being held.

Regarding the case, he said, they would send formal letters to the State Counselor and to the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Army, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.