Shan political talks to be held in Taunggyi

Writer: 
Kyaw Zin Win
A workshop was held in Taunggyi in Shan State in January, ahead of the Shan national-level political talks.
Shan national-level political talks are due to be held in Taunggyi for three days starting on Sunday, Aung Soe, a member of the peace commission, said on Thursday.
 
Preparations have been made to enable respective districts in Shan State to submit proposals to the talks. National-level political talks were permitted in some places in Shan State by the Tatmadaw (defence services). 
 
The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) demanded that Taunggyi or Panglong towns be sites for the talks, saying places proposed by the Tatmadaw were not suitable for them.
 
So, the RCSS/SSA sent a letter to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to permit them to hold the political dialogue in Taunggyi or Panglong. 
The Shan State Government planned to organise the talks, as any information did not reach the RCSS/SSA. 
 
Aung Soe, from the peace commission, said everything had been arranged. “We have prepared for paving the way for all 13 districts in Shan State to submit their proposals. The organisations in this state will participate in the dialogue. Shan ethnic national-level political dialogue will be held in Taunggyi.”
 
Three different dialogue forms have been designated by the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) and they are regional talks, nationality dialogue and subject talks. National-level and regional dialogues were held in Taninthayi and Bago Divisions. 
 
The items that will be discussed include democracy and federal-based constitutional matters, rights for each ethnic group, collective ethnic rights, regional development matters, plus land, natural resource management and allocation. 
 
Sai Leik, joint-secretary-1 of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), said: “We are an official political party. We ally with ethnic armed groups. What we would like to say is the RCSS… the one what signed the National Ceasefire Agreement with the government. We will hold the dialogue joining hands with the RCSS.
 
“We have not been informed yet whether we are allowed to hold the dialogue in our chosen places. Shan ethnics have not acquired the right to political dialogue. 
 
“I would like to tell the decision or result that can be beneficial not only to us but also to the Union.”