Representatives from Shan State Army (SSA) South have met Shan individuals and community organizations in Taunggyi, the capital city of Shan State Tuesday after it has signed 11 point agreement in the latest meeting with peace delegations from Naypitaw on 16 January.
This is the first time that SSA-South is allowed to meet the Shan community in the country since it has been fighting with the Burmese regime for decades.
“After we finished meeting with the peace delegation from Naypyitaw, we made our first meeting with the people in Taunggyi. We are very happy a lot of individuals and organizations came to meet and discuss with us,” SSA spokesperson Col Sai Hla told S.H.A.N from Taunggyi.
According to Sai Hsar Aung, a local resident and a member of Shan Culture and Literature Association in Taunggyi, he has been waiting to meet the SSA delegation since he heard the news that they were meeting with Government representatives from Naypyitaw but he did not have a chance to see them until SSA delegation meet the Shan Culture and Literature Association on Tuesday.
“I am surprised to hear that SSA delegates are here to meet with the Burmese government. I am very keen to meet them in person and witness them with my eyes how they look like. The government owned media often mention in the news that SSA is a terrorist group. But they are very friendly and intelligent when I meet them in person”, Sai Hsar Aung told S.H.A.N from Taunggyi.
Col Sai Hla said they are planning to travel to others major cities such as Mandalay, Yangon and Namkham to meet with the Shan communities and explain to them about SSA.
“We are very satisfied with the people that we have met, we explained to them about our future plans and they are very happy with our achievements with the government. There are more than 30 high profile people who came to meet us. We met with many community and political organizations such as White Tiger party, Shan Culture and Literature Association, Namkhong group and other community organizations”, said Col Sai Hla from Taunggyi.
SSA delegates are also planning to meet Khun Htun Oo, Chairman of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) who has just been released from Taungoo prison last week. Then the SSA delegates will be heading to Namkham, Northern Shan State and meet the SSA members.
In the future, SSA will continue to meet with Shan people especially young people in the country and ask the public opinion and suggestions about the future plans for SSA and what Shan people want SSA to do for them in the future, Col Sai Hla said.