Suu Kyi to meet Shan ethnic armed leader

Kyaw Zin Win

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is next week due to meet General Ywet Sit, chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), which signed the 2015 nationwide ceasefire agreement, in an apparent attempt to repair relations the Shan ethnic armed leaders.

Ywet Sit is also due to meet Vice-Senior General Soe Win, deputy commander-in-chief, after meeting Suu Kyi.

The RCSS and State Counsellor's Office were unavailable for comment.

Colonel Khun Okkar, patron of the Pa'O National Liberation Organisation, said: “General Ywet Sit is likely to discuss national-level political dialogue for nationality and other matters. He will also call for a meeting with all eight ceasefire signatories.

"General Ywet Sit can present what we want. October 15 marks two years since the ceasefire was signed. We must form a joint holding committee. Who will be invited and how will it be arranged? We hope to hear exact decisions from those in power," Khun Okkar said.

The RCSS, despite signing the ceasefire, has clashed with the Tatmadaw or government forces. It demanded national-level political talks for Shan nationalities in Taunggyi or Panglong, but the Tatmadaw suggested the venues should be Mongpan, Monehtaw, Monehta or Nantpankhun. The RCSS disagreed with the suggested locations.

The Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in July was cancelled due to the objection of Myanmar's military attaché to Thailand. The attaché said the CSSU meeting contravened the peace process as ceasefire non-signatories would attend the meeting. The move by the government angered Shan political parties, armed organisations and civil society groups.  

General Ywet Sit, joint chairman of the CSSU, sent letters to Suu Kyi, President Htin Kyaw and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on July 27 saying the prohibition of the CSSU meeting undermined the trust of the people in the peace process.

Translated by Win Htut