Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Junta resumes pressure on Wa, allies

(SHAN) -Following the 20th anniversary of “peace construction” between the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Burma’s ruling military council, which was marked with great pomp and fanfare on 17 April, a new round of meeting between the two have begun, according to a source close to the Wa authority.

Xiao Minliang, Vice President of the “Wa Government,” leading a 20-member delegation, left for Tangyan during the weekend to meet Lt-Gen Ye Myint, chief negotiator for the junta.

“The main issue would likely be the standing 3 point demand by the Burmese military,” he said.

The 3 points are:
• To surrender
• Or to become an auxiliary force under the Tatmadaw
• For elderly leaders to retire and establish a political party to contest the 2010 elections

The Wa already have the United Wa State Party (UWSP). Its leader Bao Youxiang is wearing 3 different hats:
• President, Government of Wa State
• Secretary General, United Wa State Party (UWSP)
• Commander in Chief, United Wa State Army (UWSA)

“What will be interesting is how the delegates are going to respond to Ye Myint’s query,” said an observer.

Bao Youxiang

The Wa have so far yet to say Yes or No to the demand. “The marathon (National Convention) starting in 1993 has lasted for more than ten years. Wa authorities have not failed to send delegations to attend during all those years. Our deputies have clearly expressed our position which is the Wa region requests to be granted autonomy with district or state status. GUM (Government of Union of Myanmar) has finally enfranchised Wa ethnic region the status of an autonomous prefecture, which doesn’t fully satisfy our request. To enhance the democratic process of our country and sufficiently reflect ethnic reconciliation, we will continue our dialogue and negotiate with GUM to solve the problem and we believe we can solve the problem through dialogue,” Bao said in his speech on 17 April.

Apparently for the same purpose, leaders of the Shan State Army (SSA) North, “our closet ally outside the United Front” according to the Wa, are also gathering at their Hseng Keow base in Hsipaw township.

“We’ve also been notified by Kengtung to be ready with our own answers,” said a source from the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), a member of the Wa led Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), headed by Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian.

All have so far been resisting Naypyitaw’s pressure either to surrender or become auxiliaries to the Tatmadaw and enter the planned elections.

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