Shan representatives aim for talks in Taunggyi before Panglong conference

Writer: 
Kyaw Zin Win

Ethnic Shan representatives aim to hold a national-level political dialogue in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, before the third meeting of the Union Peace Conference, said Lt-Col Sai Ngin, spokesperson of the RCSS/SSA.
The conference is also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference.
The Tatmadaw, or defence services, support the plan by the Shan representatives to hold a national-level political dialogue in Mongpan, Monehtaw/Monehta and Nantpankhun in Shan State. But some Shan figures have expressed concern that many would-be participants in the talks could face difficulties in matters such as travel and accommodation arrangements.
This prompted a written request to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for the political dialogue to be held in Taunggyi or Panglong. The letter was sent on February 23, but Shan officials say nothing has come of it.
Lt-Col Sai Ngin said: “The holding of a Shan nationalities political dialogue is meant to be one of our future tasks. We are preparing for the national-level political dialogue to be held before the third meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Conference. Our Shan political parties and other Shan ethnic organisations are discussing this together.
“We can listen to the voices of Shan people during the political dialogue. We aim to hold it in Taunggyi. We think that we have the right to hold the national-level political dialogue and don’t need to ask for anyone’s permission. But we face a problem over the venue.”
Sai Leik, joint secretary-1 of the SNLD, said the CSSU will discuss the holding of the national-level political dialogue at a meeting for Shan representatives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from July 20.
“When we meet with the approval of everyone, we will submit a letter advising the authorities of the location and date for the event. If the authorities don’t like our proposal, they will have to explain why they can’t accept our plan. We are trying to restore the effort for national reconciliation,” Sai Leik said.