Refuting earlier reports by SHAN and other news agencies that the United Wa State Army (UWSA), if push comes to push, would accept a Burma Army-controlled militia status, a source close to Wa authorities said the Wa would stand by its 21 August 2011 statement.
The said statement, issued by Wa supreme leader Bao Youxiang, came out 3-days after President Thein Sein extended a formal invitation to all armed opposition movements for peace talks.
The UWSA was the first group to sign ceasefire (on 6 September 2011). Since then, Naypyitaw has concluded 13 ceasefire pacts. However, it has yet to reach agreement with a small number of other groups, including the Kachin Independence Organization / Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA).
The second of the 10-point statement says: The UWSA will retain its present status (meaning not becoming a Border Guard Force or People’s Militia Force) during the transition (meaning before any political settlement is reached).
Meanwhile, another source maintains that there is still a faction that is ready to “pay any price to avoid war” and “continue economic development.”
The UWSA is considered the strongest among Burma’s opposition armed movements. One of its leaders Wei Xuegang is wanted both in the United States and Thailand on drug charges.
The full statement is follows:
- To keep in contact and exchange information between the two parties
- The UWSA will retain its present status during the transition
- The government is urged to negotiate peace with all ethnic movements
- It is also urged to suspend hostilities nationwide
- It should not attack ethnic movements and vice versa
- The UWSA agrees not to secede from the Union
- To adopt open market policy, accept foreign investments in order to promote the living standard of the people and do what it can to lift sanctions imposed by the West
- To obtain assistance from UN, INGOs and other donors, such as EU and Asean
- To promote equality among ethnic groups in Burma
- The UWSA supports the government’s 5 principles of peaceful co-existence (the cornerstone of its foreign policy)