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Delegations from the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) and Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) met in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on Monday to discuss reducing hostilities between the ethnic Shan militia and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
According to SSA-S Col. Sai Ngan, the Shan army representatives had an informal parley with the TNP delegates on the sidelines of the Union Peace Conference (31 August–4 September) in Naypyidaw, where they agreed on regular meetings “to bring harmony between the Palaung [Ta’ang] and Shan peoples” in eastern Burma.
“The Ta’ang party offered to mediate the talks and help build trust between both armed groups,” said Sai Ngan. “We also want both groups to work together in promoting health, education and development in Shan State.”
The Ta’ang delegation was led by central executive committee members Ta Hla Pe and Ta Aye Maung, as well as All-Burma Ta’ang Monks Organisation chair Ashin Pyinya Thiri and its secretary, Teikkha Nyarna.
In his opening speech on Monday, SSA-S leader Lt-Gen Yawd Serk said the Palaung and Shan people have co-existed in eastern Burma through thick and thin for generations, and that he suspected the clashes were due to “an outside influence”.
He told the Ta’ang party representatives to pass on a message to the TNLA that the SSA-S has no wish to fight them as the civilian populations are suffering the impacts of the conflict, and that they are ready to engage in talks to reduce hostilities.