Outgoing chair Sai Aik Pao says he wishes the coalition could have ended fighting between Shan armed forces.
The Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) will hold its annual meeting in the Shan State capital of Taunggyi during the first week in March, according to outgoing rotational chairperson Sai Aik Pao.
The event will be held at the office of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP)—of which Sai Aik Pao is also the head—from March 5-6. A new chairperson is set to be elected in the meeting. Sai Aik Pao added that he did not know who would take on the leadership role next.
“We invited all the members to attend the meeting. We haven’t had any problems setting up this meeting so far,” he told SHAN. The CSSU has had to cancel meetings in the past due to objections from the Burma Army.
Looking back on his tenure as the head of the CSSU over the last year, Sai Aik Pao lamented that the coalition of civil society organizations, political parties, and ethnic armed forces was unable to bring an end to clashes between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
“I tried my best. What I expected to happen did not happen. The two Shan forces are not united,” he said. “I sent request letters [for negotiations], but they are still fighting. The people are suffering a lot.”
Sai Aik Pao said he continues to demand that the fighting, which began late last year, stop.
“Shan people need unity among ourselves. We need to work together. Otherwise, it is impossible to be as one party,” he explained.
The CSSU’s members are the RCSS/SSA, SSPP/SSA, the Shan State Joint Action Committee, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, the SNDP, and a number Shan community-based organizations.
The CSSU was formed in 2013, declaring its aims were to protect the rights of the Shan people, to pursue Shan self-determination, and to draft a framework for political dialogue.