Shan State regional dialogue criticized as hasty and unprepared

Several delegates have criticized the Shan State regional-level dialogue as a hastily arranged and unprepared event.

Photo SHAN- over 400 representatives from political parties, the government, the Burmese armed forces, civil society, and ceasefire signatory groups attended the Shan State regional dialogue between April 23-25, 2017.
Some 400 representatives from political parties, the government, the Burmese armed forces, civil society, and ceasefire signatory groups are attending the talks, which kicked off in state capital Taunggyi yesterday. Ethnic armed groups that have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) were not invited to the conference.

The regional-level dialogue is a pre-runner to Union-level dialogue, unofficially dubbed the “21st Century Panglong Conference,” which is slated to be held sometime in May. The Taunggyi conference was held up as an opportunity for stakeholders in Shan State to share and recommend opinions in order to form a consensus ahead of the Union peace talks.

According to Dr Myo Htun, the regional minister of social affairs, the Office of the State Counsellor on April 19 authorized the Taunggyi meeting, after which logistics were rushed in order to hold the forum in time.

“We set up a conference committee and tried to do the best we could with such limited time to prepare,” he said. “We wanted to make sure everyone was involved, but some may have been left out. Please understand; this was purely down to the time restriction.”

Nang Mya Oo, the secretary of the Taunggyi branch of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), said that they could not submit a paper to the committee because they did not have enough time to prepare.

“We were not able to submit our paper this time because they only asked us two days before the event,” she said. “However, we will present it [when we can].”

Yan Kyaw, a leading committee member of the Wa Self-Administered Division, echoed the sentiment that there was not enough time to prepare statements and paperwork.

“We had to discuss, prepare, write and submit our paper the night before we left to travel to the meeting,’ he said.

“I’m not satisfied with this conference,” he added. “They need to give us at least five days or one week to prepare. This regional-level meeting is very important. In the future, I hope they inform everyone well ahead of time.”

Khun Myint Htun, the chairman of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), which was invited to Taunggyi’s conference, said, “As this event is led by the Shan State government, it stands to reason that every armed group in the state should be invited to participate as observers.”

Reached for comment by Shan Herald, Lt-Col Sai Oo of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), a signatory to the NCA, but which was blocked from convening a conference in February, said that dialogue should proceed step by step.

“This event is organized by the government, and it is good to have this meeting,” he said. “However it is very urgent, and it should be organized to proceed on a step-by-step basis.”

According to Shan State Chief Minister Dr. Linn Htut, to date some 70 papers have been submitted to the conference, including 26 related to political issues, 23 papers related to economy, and 21 involving land and resources issues.

The conference is scheduled to be held in the state capital from April 23 to 25.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)


Allwebsitetools © 2014 Shan Herald Agency for News All Rights Reserved