Shan Party Offers to Broker Talks Between Clashing Armed Groups

By Chit Min Htun 27 November 2018

YANGON — The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) says it is attempting to broker peace talks between two rival ethnic armed groups currently fighting in northern Shan State.

SNLD First Secretary U Sai Leik said the party on Monday sent letters to General Yawd Serk and Lieutenant General Pan Fa, chairmen of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), respectively, urging them to stop fighting immediately.

“We also urged them to take responsibility for the lives and property of the people and to give them help,” he added.

Some local residents have been killed or wounded in the latest round of fighting between the armed wings of the two groups, which broke out earlier this month. Others have fled their homes to escape the violence.

“If the two sides are willing to meet each other, we are ready to arrange a meeting for them,” said U Sai Leik.

The last time the two groups clashed, in July, the Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) also urged them to hold talks to settle their differences peacefully. They met in southern Shan State in August to discuss a ceasefire but agreed only to have more talks.

“I’ve sent letters to them twice. This problem can be solved only with meetings between U Pan Fa and U Yawd Serk. I have asked the two sides to form committees to have meeting in the meantime,” CSSU Chairman U Sai Ai Bao said.

“People are suffering a lot. There shouldn’t be fighting within our own ethnic group, as well as with the Tatmadaw [Myanmar military}. We are fed up with the war; it has been going on for 70 years,” he added, referring to the country’s long-running civil war.

The SSPP says the fighting will end only when the RCSS withdraws its troops from northern Shan State. But the RCSS, which is based in southern Shan, refused to hold talks on a withdrawal.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.