Rebel leader warns Naypyitaw: No more ceasefire violations

More violations by the Burma Army of the ceasefire agreement may end up in the collapse of the treaty, said Lt-Gen Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) on Monday, 5 November.

“The army and the government should not be at cross purposes,” he said. “They also need to do everything to help the people so they (the people) can get over the army’s past excesses. Last but not least, political dialogues need to begin as soon as possible. That is how trust and peace can be built.”

Lt. Gen. Yawdserk, left, leader of Shan State Army (SSA), and Gen. Soe Win, chief of Myanmar government negotiation group, shake hands during their meeting in Kengtung, eastern Shan State, Myanmar, Saturday, May 19, 2012. It was second round of peace talks between the government and Shan rebels. Photo: Khin Maung Win / AP

He saw not much progress since he first meet President Thein Sein’s “Minister Without Borders” U Aung Min in Chiangrai on 19 November 2011. “We have been attacked 32 times during the past year,” he said. “1,000 families of our fighters have been waiting to move into the Mongtaw-Monghta area for resettlement (as agreed in January). But 60 of our men sent to make preparations for the move have not been allowed to go anywhere.

“On the drug front, no (practical) agreement had been reached at the Tachilek meeting (on 28 October).”

He said since it was the government that had made the first call for peace, it rests primarily on the government’s shoulders to make trust and peace a reality.

The picture is not altogether gloomy, according to his earlier statements. On the brighter side, all groups that have entered truce with the government have acknowledged the opening of liaison offices in sensitive areas, the holding of public consultations on the peace process and the freedom to call on authorities when there are problems have been useful.

“Ceasefire and peace have always been shattered by the government’s side,” he pointed out. “Just take a look at the fighting against the Shan State Army (SSA) North and Kachin Independence Army (KIA). They were not started by the SSA or the KIA, but by the government’s side.”

The two sides are due to meet again sometime this month. “The venue may be Taunggyi (Shan State capital),” he told SHAN. “But the date is yet to be fixed.”

On the other hand, U Aung Min, also Vice Chairman of the Union Peacemaking Work Committee, has always said his peace missions are not funded by the government, that they were from his “own pockets”. The first payment for his work, Euro 700,000, appeared to have come only during the visit of the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso last week. It will reportedly be followed by another 30 million euros for the country’s peace process in the upcoming year.


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