Shan conference credits President for success

A retired Shan general who presided over the 3-day conference in Chiangmai which was participated by major Shan movements and civil society organizations as well as academics expressed appreciation to President Thein Sein for the success of the meeting which ended yesterday.

“Without his call for peace talks when he became President, this conference would not have taken place,” Major General (Retired) Gunjade, 78, told the 94 participants, at least half of whom were from inside Burma.

They included doctors Sai Kham Leik, Burma’s foremost songwriter, and Sai Hsang Ai, leading literary scholar. Only Sai Fa, another famous academic, was unable to come.

Other participants included:

•    Sai Nyunt Lwin        Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD)
•    Sai Mawng              Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP)
•    Sai Phong Harn       Shan State Progress Party (SSPP)
•    Sao Yawdserk         Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS)

The conference, after two and a half day parley, formed the Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) as a meeting point for all groups and individuals working for Shan State to work for peace in the country. Accordingly, two offices are to be set up in Chiangmai and Taunggyi.

It has a Board of Chairpersons (made up of top leaders from each of the member group), a secretarial (provisionally headed by RCSS personnel but each member group contributing 1 representative) and 5 affairs departments:

•    Pace building                               SNLD quota
•    Research and Development           Shan CBO
•    Parliamentary Affairs                    SNDP quota
•    Foreign Relations                         SNLD-CBO (inside)
•    Constitutional Affairs                    Shan Lawyers

“At present, we only have Shan groups as members,” said Yawdserk. “But, with successful fusion among shans, we will extend our invitation to all non-Shans to join it so we can resolve our problems together.”

The present office-holders’ tenure has accordingly been fixed at 1 year in order to allow for new member groups to be able to get elected in the coming year.

Major non-Shan groups in Shan State include Wa, PaO, Palaung, Kokang, Danu, Lahu, Kayan and Kachin. “Our challenge is share the best among each other without breaking up the country,” he added.

The conference also discussed amendment of the 2008 constitution and the drafting of a state Constitution.


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