Shan and Kayah to hold joint peace conference

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013 12:04 Phanida

A Shan-Kayah (Karenni) joint conference will be held in Lashio, Shan State from March 20-22 and will be attended by ethnic political parties and ethnic armed groups from the Shan and Kayah States.

Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) has organized the three-day meeting and has invited 25 ethnic groups.

“The main subject is about what we can do to establish lasting peace. The groups can voice their opinions,” Sai Lake, an SNLD spokesperson, told Mizzima.

In November 2012, a conference entitled “Building Trust for Peace”, was attended by Shan political parties and armed groups in Yangon.

Following that conference, members of SNLD visited Shan and Kayah States in December and met local residents. While there, they found that the needs and political objective of the Shan people and Kayah people were similar, leading the SNLD to hold the joint Shan-Kayah conference, Sai Lake told Mizzima.

“In preparation for the second conference, we visited Kayah State and Moe-Byae, too. The needs of these people are the same. Their political objective are same,” said Sai Lake.

The conference will be attended by the United Wa State Army, Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army, Restoration Council of the Shan State, Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), Karenni Nationalities People's Liberation Front and Shan State Nationalities People's Liberation Organization.

Minister Aung Min, the Myanmar government’s peace making committee vice-chairman, Minister of Electric Power Khin Maung Soe, Minister of Forestry Win Tun and peace broker Hla Maung Shwe will attend the conference.

SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo and Chiang-Mai-based Shan Herald News Agency editor Khun Sai will also attend the conference.

Cultural and literature organizations, women's organizations, Shan students’ groups, NGOs and lawyers’ network have also been invited to attend the conference, according to Sai Lake.

“We hope that we can find a way to establish lasting peace,” Sai Lake told Mizzima. “At least, we hope that we can find a solution to build a genuine federal Union and that all ethnic people can find hope.”