The RCSS/SSA chair also defended the organization’s claim to territory in northern Shan State.
Chairperson of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) Gen Yawd Serk recently met with Shan veterans and encouraged them to contribute to the resolution of conflict in northern Shan State.
The meeting occurred on March 10 and was attended by former Shan soldiers Pu Nan Saw, Sao Gungjit, Sao Pai Muent, Sao Khun Htoo, and others.
“We want to seek help from our veterans. We want them to negotiate for the halt of armed conflict between the two Shan forces, without bias toward any side,” Gen Yawd Serk said in the meeting.
A number of recent clashes have been reported between the RCSS/SSA and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in northern Shan State. The SSPP/SSA accused the RCSS/SSA of assisting Burma Army troops in attacking them on Loi Pan Hkar mountain earlier this week, an allegation that the RCSS denied.
While the RCSS/SSA is signatory to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military, it says it has has experienced at least 300 battles with the Burma Army since signing the 2015 accord.
Gen Yawd Serk also defended RCSS’s claim to territory in northern Shan State, saying that his forces had been active there “since 2006” and that “80 percent of our soldiers are from northern Shan State.”
“We are fighting as though we are defending ourselves. Therefore, we want to ask for help from the sangha [monkhood], locals and our veterans, in negotiating between us,” he said.
The RCSS/SSA chair stated that while the two Shan armed groups needed “to stop shooting each other,” they “do not need to withdraw from the areas they’ve been deployed to.”
SSPP/SSA has already released a statement calling on the RCSS/SSA to withdraw completely from northern Shan State before negotiations between the armed groups can begin.