Delegates of the Burmese government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) met with the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA) for ceasefire talks in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, on Thursday.
Sai La, a spokesperson for the RCSS/SSA, said the objective of the meeting was to work out and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Shan armed group and the government – a form of preliminary agreement – as the proposed nationwide ceasefire agreement is unlikely to be signed by 12 February, Burma’s Union Day, as previously projected.
“We have not yet decided a title for the MoU but it is aimed at ensuring steady progress in the ceasefire talks and the peace process, and to prevent the use of military means to resolve matters prior to the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement,” he said.
Sai La said the government’s chief negotiator, Minister Aung Min, presented a list of points which he deemed necessary for the MoU, including continued discussions on the forming of a federal union.
The minister reportedly said that if the ethnic armed groups agree with the points presented by the UPWC, the memorandum could be signed by Union Day. The RCSS/SSA representatives replied that they would need to relay the minister’s proposal to the group’s Central Committee before giving a response, Sai La said.
In addition to Aung Min, the UPWC side included ministers Khin Yi and Khin Maung Soe, as well as members of the Myanmar Peace Centre, while their Shan counterparts were led by SSA-S Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, who was backed by advisor Khun Sai and central committee members Sai Ngon, Sai La and Sai Hseng Mong.