Northern Shan State Civil Society, Politicians Urge Meeting Between Armed Groups

‘Problem solving through fighting does not benefit anybody,’ says one organizational representative.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Political party representatives and members of civil society have said that armed organizations must meet as soon as possible to reduce clashes in northern Shan State.

In what has been described as a conflict regarding territory, the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) has clashed with the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) multiple times this month.

The fighting has been fatal, with three civilians killed last Friday in Hsipaw Township.

“I don’t want the current peace process to be damaged. Regarding implementation, all stakeholders must participate in a meeting and discussion,” Nang San San Aye, a state parliamentarian representing Hsipaw for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, told NMG. “I want peace to be rapidly restored in our country. If not, then our people will have to run from clashes.”

Political analyst U Maung Maung Soe said that negotiations between the different actors are urgently needed to discuss territory, lest the conflict escalates.

“TNLA, SSPP and RCSS must have a face to face meeting,” he said. “They cannot conclude these problems without meeting.”

Those based in the community are concerned about the impact off the clashes—which are happening during the annual harvest—on food security.

“I’m so worried about food shortages. I want their lives and businesses to be protected—we are all ethnic brothers and sisters,” said Ko Myo, who works with the organization Volunteers Without Borders, adding that he hoped for a peaceful solution.

Since the RCSS/SSA signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the Burmese government and military in 2015, the group has had clashes with the SSPP/SSA and the TNLA—both non-signatories to the NCA.

RCSS has met with TNLA and SSPP on the issue in the past.

“Top leaders from the armed organizations must meet. They should see that problem solving through fighting does not benefit anybody,” said Tai Youth Network spokesperson Sai Naw. “People are suffering a lot from conflict.”