Commenting on continued occurrences of hostilities between the Burma Army and the armed opposition movements that have reached ceasefire agreements with Naypyitaw, Lt-Gen Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), thinks it is time the Burma Army renounces its traditional culture of resorting to force instead of negotiations to resolve problems.
“This is the time to build mutual trust,” he said. “If we use force every time a problem arises, who will trust us? If there is no trust, how can peace be forged? It was because we wanted to resolve our problems through political means that we had accepted Prosident Thein Sein’s invitation. And if there is continued use of force, the result is inevitable: The peace process will fail and war will return.”
He was speaking in connection with the recent clashes that had taken place following his third meeting in May with Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min, which also included for the first time Burma Army chief Gen Soe Win and 3 regional commanders.
The two sides have fought 5 times since the meeting, the last on 19 June. On several vicasions, Burmese commanders said they were on “area-clearing” operations and the SSA was standing in the way.
In general, the RCSS/SSA’s 11-point peace principles, which was spelled out earlier this month, similar to what President Thein Sein said on 1 March, except on two points:
4. To resolve problems that arise between the two sides by peaceful means, and to refrain from using force
5. To suspend all war activities / movements and give advance notification to each other, if necessary
The RCSS/SSA also confirmed that agreements on major political issues should be reached outside the parliament. “Only after final agreements have been made, they should be introduced to the parliament for approval,” he said.
An RCSS/SSA delegation, led by Brig Gen Pawng Kherh, is currently meeting elders, activists and armed movements to work out a common platform.