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Tiger Head says Wa is on board

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Despite failure to meet Wa leaders last weekend, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the largest winning party in Shan State in 1990 elections, believes the United Wa State Party / United Wa State Army (UWSP/UWSA) will be participating in the intra-Shan State conference due to be held during the first half of next year, according to SNLD spokesman.

The SNLD leader Hkun Htun Oo met Sai Leun, leader of the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) chairman in Mongla, opposite China’s Jinghong city, on Saturday, 8 December. “The Mongla leadership has expressed strong interest to take part in the planned conference,” said spokesman Sai Lake.

As for the UWSP/UWSA, Mongla’s closest ally, Zhao Zhongdang, in-charge of Chairman Bao Youxiang’s office, had reportedly called and said Hkun Htun Oo and his party would be welcome in Panghsang, opposite China’s Meng Lien. “But he said, since the visit was on such short notice, a formal meeting with all the Wa leaders concerned would be impossible,” Sai Lake explained. “Also Hkun Htun Oo’s presence at the opening ceremony of Shan New Year festival in Kengtung is very important. So we decided to return to Kengtung (on 9 December).”

On the other hand, Lt-Gen Hso Ten and Maj-Gen Kherh Tai of Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), who were on their way to Panghsang, had undertaken to report to the Wa leadership, according to Sai Lake. “It was through the SSPP/SSA that we first learned of the Wa interest to participate in the intra-Shan State conference,” he said.

The SNLD’s plan is to hold another meeting among the Shans. “The conference last month was only preliminary,” he said. “We will need another one to reach concrete agreement. Without prior agreement among the Shans, a meeting with other stakeholders will be meaningless.”

The SNLD hopes to have a pre-meeting with the UWSP/UWSA after 14 December, Shan New Year’s Day, according to SNLD sources.

The Shan New Year is expected to be widely celebrated both at home and abroad including Panghsang and Mongla.

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