Ta’ang army suspends talks with govt as clashes continue

Ta’ang army suspends talks with govt as clashes continue

The Ta’ang (Palaung) National Liberation Army (TNLA) said it will be unable to proceed with peace talks with the Burmese government due to continued fighting between the ethnic armed group and the Burmese army.

A delegation from the northern Shan state based TNLA, led by Lt-Col Tar Bone Kyaw, last met with the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee headed by President’s Office Minister Aung Min on 31 July in Lashio, and had agreed to a second round of negotiations around 10 August in Namhsan, which is located in the Palaung Self-Administered Zone. However, the Palaung army said that clashes between the two sides have continued unabated in the interim.

Captain Mai Aung Ko, spokesperson for the TNLA, said the continuation of hostilities could hamper the “mutual trust-building process”.

Speaking to DVB earlier this week, Mai Aung Ko said, “Continuing clashes with the Burma Army is hindering us from following up with the talks. This is very damaging to the peace process.”

He said there were two clashes in Kyaukme district’s Mongngaw township on 7 and 12 August and one on 24 August in Muse district, adding that the TNLA was conducting anti-narcotic education field programmes in those areas at the time and was forced to exchange fire with the government forces when confronted.

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The Palaung spokesman said that no government negotiator has been in contact with the TNLA regarding the clashes nor had his side approached the peace-making group.

The TNLA, armed wing of the Palaung State Liberation Front, was formed in 2005 and is active in northern Shan state’s Mongtong, Kutkai, Namhkam and Namhsan townships.

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