Linking Panglong Agreement review and the 5th anniversary re-eruption of Kachin conflict

As the Kachin Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and over a hundred Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), local and international, called for peace and an end to the military offensives in Shan and Kachin States, on the  5th anniversary of re-erupted armed conflict between the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) and Burma Army (a.k.a. Tatmadaw or the military), the  two Shan resistance armies – the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) – joined by KIO/KIA, met in Chiang Mai from 7 to 8 June to review, reflect and build awareness on the Panglong Agreement that was signed in 1947, between the Federated Shan States, Kachin and Chin Hills, together with the Ministerial Burma or Burma Proper.

Learning to share: Back to Panglong

Day Two. Wednesday, 8 June 2016

History happens twice

Because people don’t listen at the first time.

Russian History Quotes, quateaddicts.com

The first part of the day is spent in reviewing the Panglong Handbook that was drafted yesterday.

Learning to share: Back to Panglong

On 7-8 June 2016, three ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) — Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), and Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) — met in Chiangmai.

The Ethnic Alliances: it’s rhetoric and substance in Burma’s modern political transition

The politics of alliance has never been defined in its own narrative within the ethnic writer and scholar in modern political literature in English. However, it has been well written in Burmese and other ethnic languages in the country. It is a complex issue to be explored by a non-ethnic writer in depth, to understand its rhetoric and substance due to the hidden agenda of political interests within the ethnic political factions in the country. It is far more complex than a simple word like ‘democracy’. As widely used as it is in modern Burmese political literature, at least the subject is not an isolated matter to many journalists and writers in Burma, also known as Myanmar, regardless of their/our insightful knowledge on the issue.

Interview with RCSS/SSA Chairman Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s State Counsellor and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has pledged to hold a national conference later this year that would follow in the footsteps of the historic Panglong conference attended by her father General Aung San and representatives of Burma's ethnic groups.

The agreement reached at Panglong, stipulated a significant level of autonomy for Burma's ethnic groups in exchange for their decision to support Aung San's bid for independence from Britain. Aung San, was assassinated just months after the agreement was reached, his successor U Nu, did little to implement the agreement before he was overthrown by General Ne Win in 1962. The subsequent military regimes that ruled Burma also disregarded the commitments made by General Aung San at Panglong.

This week SHAN interviewed Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk, Chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), to discuss his thoughts on Aung San Suu Kyi's proposed summit, the ongoing situation in Shan State and his recent meeting with the Shan State Chief minister, Dr. Linn Htut.

Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk's organisation the RCSS/SSA is one of eight ethnic armed groups that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) last year with the central government. While the RCSS/SSA has not clashed with government forces since signing the NCA, there have been repeated clashes over the past 6 months between the RCSS/SSA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). The TNLA is member of the United Nationalities Federate Council (UNFC), who unlike the RCSS/SSA did not sign the NCA.

Q: In your meeting with the Shan State Chief Minister, what did you discuss with him?

A: "As he is the new Shan State Chief Minister, I met with him to build a good relationship. We also talked about how the RCSS/SSA can cooperate with the new government for Shan State's development and the betterment of the people."

Q: What are your thoughts on the 21st Century Panglong conference which is going to to be led by Aung San Suu Kyi?

A: "Regarding the 21st Century Panglong conference which Aung San Suu Kyi will lead, I do not know in detail what this conference will be like. However, what we do know is that the Panglong conference has three main points; the commitment to Panglong, the Panglong Agreement and the spirit of Panglong. Regarding these three points, I have no idea which points she will work on and how she will deal with it."

Q: As an RCSS/SSA leader, what would you say about this 21st Century Panglong conference?

A: "I hope that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will do her best for this Panglong conference. However, I am also worried that she might misunderstand and do it in a wrong way. If this conference is wrong, it will affect the future of the union. The result from the first Panglong Agreement is the ongoing civil war in the country. I don’t think anyone knows how this 21st Century Panglong conference will look like. I would like to say that before holding this conference every group should discuss what they want the conference to be like. I’m afraid if we do not discuss clearly first, this will affect the conference."

Q: The RCSS are rumoured to have been recruiting new soldiers in Nam Sarng Township, what would you say about this issue?

A: "This news is wrong. We were accused by the government military [Tatmadaw] of recruiting villagers. If the media wanted to know you should go to villagers and ask them. The RCSS held its Shan State Resistance Day on 21 May at its Loi Tai Leng headquarters so that these people could join the ceremony.

"We have a policy that if anyone does not want to be a soldier, we won't force them."

Q: With the new government how will you work with them on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)?

A: "The NCA was led by the previous government. But, for this new government we do not know how they will proceed. I can only wait and see."

Q: How will the problems between the RCSS and TNLA be solved?

A: "The problems between us and the TNLA cannot be solved with armed fighting. The best way to solve the problems is for both sides to meet and discuss these problems. The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) formed a committee during Thingyan [the New Year water festival] for talking. However, after the water festival, the TNLA attacked us again. They intentionally created problems between the Shan and the Palaung people. In order to solve the problems we have avoided fighting with them. But, there were over 30 clashes with them and we lost eight soldiers and over 30 were injured. The loss is normal in conflict, but it affects the people. I felt depressed about this."

BY SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)

REBUTTAL: On Secession Clause and Panglong Agreement

Lately, quite a number of non-Bamar ethnic leaders and people in general were airing their opinions that the 1947 Panglong Agreement didn’t mention “secession” and that it was not “all-inclusive”, as only Kachin, Chin, Shan and Burma Proper or Ministerial Burma were involved and not all the other ethnic nationalities were included in the treaty.

Doublespeak of Commander-in-Chief could derail national reconciliation process

When the Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing declared quite recently that he was toeing the line of Aung San Suu Kyi’s 21st Century Panglong initiative, it looks like that the military, also known as Burma Army or Tatmadaw, is ready to take order from the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led regime and would help facilitate its national reconciliation and all-inclusiveness policy.

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