Several major Shan armed groups have accepted the regime’s invitation to meet in Naypyitaw for peace talks, which some other prominent groups have already publicly rejected.
Burma’s regime-appointed State Administration Council (SAC) told the media that the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) will attend the meeting in the Southeast Asian country’s capital.
Both groups are currently engaged in a bitter conflict with each other in Shan State and have been fighting the Burma Army (BA) for decades. However, since the army’s military coup over a year ago, clashes with the BA have largely subsided. Recently, however, regime troops have surrounded an SSPP camp in the south, leading many to believe that fighting could break out any day.
According to a Shan politician close to both groups, top SSPP leaders won’t be joining the engagement with SAC leader and army chief Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw. He explained that seven of the groups that have signed the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which includes the RCSS, will attend and only three non-signatories.
None of these groups are actively fighting the regime, while the groups currently engaged in armed struggle against the dictatorship snubbed the meeting, which they described as non-inclusive after the interim National Unity Government and all of the People’s Defence Forces were excluded.
Besides RCSS, the NCA-signatories that are attending are Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, New Mon State Party, Pa-O National Liberation Organization and Lahu Democratic Union.
The other non-signatories joining the assembly include United Wa State Army and National Democratic Alliance Army.
The Karen National Union, the Kachin Independence Army, the Karenni National Progressive Party, the Chin National Front and All Burma Students’ Democratic Front have declined SAC’s invitation to meet, the date of which hasn’t yet been officially announced.