The meeting marks the first formal discussions between the Shan armed group and government officials in months.
Delegations from the Burmese government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) met to discuss seven “essential issues” on Monday.
These included the implementation of the results of the third session of the Union Peace Conference; the release of detained soldiers and civilians; a national level political dialogue; regional development; the half of armed conflict throughout Burma and return of displaced communities; the fourth round of the Union Peace Conference; and cooperation in an anti-narcotics campaign.
RCSS/SSA Secretary (2) Col Sai Nguen told SHAN that the two primary topics of discussion included anti-drug work and the release of people arrested by government forces for alleged links to the Shan armed group.
“We mainly discussed narcotics-related issues, as this is the most important. We discussed how to cooperate in an anti-narcotics campaign,” he said. “We have tried to discuss this issue after we signed [commitments] three times with the U Aung Min,” he added, referring to ceasefires with the previous government’s peace negotiator.
“We haven’t implemented this yet. Therefore, we discussed it again,” Col. Sai Nguen said.
Monday’s meeting marked the first official meeting between the RCSS/SSA and government officials since an October 2018 decision to halt formal participation in the peace process.
The NRPC team was led by vice chairperson Dr. Tin Myo Win, while the RCSS/SSA’s delegation was headed by Maj-Gen Bawng Khur.