Representatives from the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S) and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) held a meeting yesterday in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai to discuss the recent fighting between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army/Palaung State Liberation Force (TNLA/PSLF) and the RCSS/SSA-S, according to a representative from RCSS/SSA-S.
Lt. Col. Sai Nguen, an RCSS/SSA-S representative, told SHAN that three issues were raised during the talks.
“Firstly, we discussed how we could work together in the political arena in the future,” he said. “Secondly, we discussed long lasting ethnic unity. And finally, we discussed the recent fighting between the RCSS/SSA-A and the TNLA/PSLF.”
Tension between RCSS/SSA-S and TNLA/PSLF heightened in Shan State on November 27, just over a month after the RCSS/SSA-S signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government. The TNLA argues that this agreement has effectively allied the RCSS/SSA-S with the Burma Army.
The TNLA/PSLF is among the six ethnic armed groups that were excluded by the government from signing the NCA.
The meeting was attended by three representatives from UNFC—a coalition of ethnic armed organizations—including military chief general Bee Htu from the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), U Htun Zaw from Arakan National Council (ANC), Naing Shwe Thein from New Mon State Party (NMSP) and three representatives from the RCSS/SSA-S include Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk, Lt. Col. Sai Nguen and Lt. Col. Sai Muang. But no TNLA representatives were present during the discussion.
“We agreed that we will solve the problem by peaceful means,” Lt. Col. Sai Nguen said. “The UNFC will report what we have discussed with them.”
“In the near future, both sides will hold a meeting again in order to find a solution,” he added. “For RCSS, we always think of TNLA as an ally. We never had a problem and fought each other in the past. We never think of the TNLA as our enemy.”
SHAN was unable to contact the TNLA/PSLF at the time of reporting.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)