Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ spokesman Sai Lao Hseng says its representatives had made it clear to its Naypyitaw counterparts Saturday, 17 December, that the non-secession clause included in previous agreements with 3 other armed movements would only hamper the peace process Naypyitaw had started.
“On the other hand, we have no problem with the regime’s ‘Three Causes’,” he said. “We had co-founded the Union and we are willing to give it a chance, if the regime is sincere about building a genuine union.”
The said Three Causes are Non-disintegration of the Union, Non-disintegration of National Solidarity and Perpetuation of National Sovereignty, the regime’s avowed political equivalent of the Christian Trinity and the Buddhist Three Refuges.
“How we will decide upon continued union will depend on the wish of the people which will in turn depend on the regime’s sincerity,” he explained. “For that, we would need time to meet and listen to the people.”
Other SSA sources also added that as the next step after the signing of the ceasefire on 2 December is to discuss development, political matters such as the secession issue should be reserved for the third and last step of the process, where regime negotiators had promised to hold an inclusive conference in the style of Panglong in 1947, when Burma, Chin Hills, Kachin Hills and Federated Shan States agreed to form the Union, on the basis of Full Autonomy in internal administration, Democracy and Human Rights.
Earlier, the SSA South had adopted the principle: To struggle for the rights promised at Panglong. It later became Total Independence. Its later statements show that unless the rights of Panglong are guaranteed, the group would never give up on Total Independence principle.
The 1947 constitution had also granted the right of secession to Karenni and Shan States.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the ex-DKBA Kloh Htoo Baw have already signed non-secession agreements with Naypyitaw.
The next meeting between the Restoration of Shan State (RCSS) and Naypyitaw’s union level peace building team will take place on a yet-to-be designated date in January, said Sai Lao Hseng.
Speaking to the media in Rangoon on 9 December, information minister Kyaw Hsan declared there remained only 10 armed movements, according to Modern Journal:
- 2 have signed state-level ceasefire agreements
- 2 others are holding talks at the union level
- 5 others have agreed in principle for a ceasefire agreement
- Only the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) remained the only group to reach an agreement