Thailand blocks Shan organization's meeting in Chiang Mai

At the behest of a Tatmadaw attaché, Thailand blocked a meeting of Shan organizations and ethnic armed groups set to take place in Chiang Mai this week, according to a member of the preparation committee.

The Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) led by Lieutenant General Yawd Serk of the Restoration Council of Shan State, was set to meet from July 20 to 22.

Brigadier General Khin Zaw, the Myanmar Military Attaché for Thailand, requested Thai authorities prohibit the CSSU meeting due to the inclusion of "unofficial" organizations and involvement of foreigners who allegedly could cause confusions in Myanmar's internal affairs, according to the organizer.

Thailand complied with the request.

“This is a bilateral issue. We had to prohibit it since we were asked to do it. I don’t understand this issue. There hasn’t been any prohibition against the UNFC [United Nationalities Federal Council] which has not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement, but they didn’t want the meeting to be held by Lt Gen Yawd Serk, whose organization has signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement,” said a Thai security official, speaking anonymously.

U Khun Sai, director of the Pyidaungsu Institute, said he believes the prohibition is due to the attendance of a representative of the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), which has not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), as well as the attendance of Sao Harn Yawnghwe, who was rumored to have been blakclisted by the government. The youngest son of then Burma’s first president Sao Shwe Thaike, and was of the Euro Burma Office, was barred from entering Myanmar on multiple-entry visa earlier this year.

The CSSU was established with Shan ethnic armed organizations from the northern and southern areas, Shan political parties, and Shan social organizations.

Lt Gen Yawd Serk, chair of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-Sotuh'd (RCSS/SSA), was reappointed as chair of the CSSU for 2017-2018.