Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SSA opposes junta’s political process

By Hseng Khio Fah

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the political wing of the Shan State Army (SSA) South, said that the current junta-dictated political process is not a democratic one, according to its statement released today.

It stops short of calling it “the 7 step roadmap,” apparently not to offend Thailand that has lent support to it.

The statement deals with three topics: politics, drugs and the proposed peace talks.

On the current political situation in Burma, the SSA has recommended a 4 point proposal:

Amnesty for all political dissidents and armed opposition
Amendment by all stakeholders of the junta-approved constitution
Ethnic participation in the electoral commission

For winning parties of the 1990 elections like the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) to have a say in the upcoming elections-“Exclusion of them will only make the 2010 elections a meaningless exercise”

Col Yawdserk, Shan State Army leader

Concerning drugs, the resolution, it says, must come from a political settlement. “Shan State must be given the right to rule itself,” citing the 1947 Panglong Agreement which united Shan, Kachin and Chin with Burma. (Bangkok Post, 10 June 2001 issue, quoted the Thai Army as saying that the root of Thailand’s drug problems could be traced to violations of the treaty by Burma’s successive governments.)

As for Thai-facilitated peace talks with Burma’s military rulers, the RCSS says: “Our doors are always open for talks with the Burmese military. But for talks to succeed, both sides must make concessions, not just the RCSS yielding to all the conditions set by the Burmese military.”

Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) also welcomes Thailand’s offer to facilitate the talks, according to Khu Oo Reh, Deputy Secretary General.

“We are always ready to hold talks with the junta if there is a safe venue for both sides.”

With Thailand as a facilitator, chances for peace are great, according to him. “It would have more chance to succeed than if we did it by ourselves.”

KNPP has held several peace talks with the junta both officially and unofficially. The latest was in 2007 in Tachilek, eastern Shan State, opposite Thailand’s Maesai, he said.

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