Reports about the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ holding closed door meetings with Naypyitaw is spreading among ceasefire groups, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border.
The meeting was reported to have been held in late April coinciding with reports that the ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ had agreed to transform itself into a home guard force run by the Burma Army. According to a United Wa State Army (UWSA) source, the Burma’s ruling military council was said to have asked the SSA South join hands with it in the fight against drug dealing groups.
Most ceasefire groups especially the UWSA are reputedly involved in the drug trade.
The SSA ‘South’ has categorically denied the report. It said it has not received any further invitation for talks from the Burma Army since 2007. The report therefore is just a plot by the military junta to discourage alliance between the ceasefire groups and the SSA ‘South’, according to its leader Lt-Gen Yawd Serk.
“It is just a malicious rumor. We give our solemn word we will never betray our allies and our people,” he said. “We will also never do anything without informing our allies and our people first.”
Anyhow the SSA will always welcome peace talks with the Burma Army if there is a safe venue for both sides.
In addition, he said, “I would strongly urge all the ceasefire groups and non-ceasefire groups at this time that we all have to stay more united, to listen to each other and to be careful about news coming from every side. Because the military junta will do whatever it can to destroy our unity.”
He also urged all the groups to work in the interests of the people. Likewise, people are also being urged not to be afraid and not to run away from their homes anymore.
The Burma Army invited the SSA ‘South’ for a peace talk in 2007.
However the proposed meeting scheduled for 23 May 2007 did not take place as the two disagreed on the choice of venue: The Burma Army wanted to hold it in Tachilek, opposite Mae Sai, but the SSA said for the first meeting it should be held on a neutral country i.e. Thailand.
One border analyst says the Burma Army is playing games to keep the ceasefire groups from teaming up with the SSA South. “This is very obviously a psychological warfare.”