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Panglong II premature, Shan party says

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A Shan Nationalities Democratic Party leader, Thet Yuan Pai, has criticised as premature the Zomi National Congress plan now managed by Aung San Suu Kyi to convene a second Panglong Conference.

The task of reconvening the conference in a bid to guarantee the equality and self-determination rights of ethnic peoples was handed to Suu Kyi last Saturday by Zomi National Congress (ZNC) party chairman Pu Chin Sian Thang.

kalay-plThe first Panglong Agreement was a deal reached between the Burmese government under Suu Kyi’s father, independence hero Aung San, and the Shan, Kachin and Chin peoples on February 12, 1947, which accepted in principle “Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas” and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly (Burma’s first post-independence parliament). The deal came almost a year after the first Panglong Conference was held in the town of the same name in the south of Shan State.

“It’s premature to comment on this topic. It’s difficult to give a decision on it at the moment. It focuses on genuine union and national unity. It’s too good,” said Thet Yuan Pai, southern Shan State leader of the SNDP party, popularly known as the White Tiger party for its logo.

The comments came after SNDP leaders met Nay Myo Wei from the Peace and Diversity Party yesterday. Present were White Tiger party general secretary for southern Shan State, Sai Maung Tin, the central executive committee member from Panglong, Saw Sai Mein, and party members Hla Ye Htut and Thet Yuan Pai.

“We don’t yet accept it but that doesn’t mean we’ll never accept it. We’ve decided not to take part in the second Panglong Conference as it would be too dangerous for us. It will be impossible to convene … [outside] the legal framework,” Thet Yuan Pai said.

He added however that his was not the official position of the White Tiger party, the third most successful to have taken part in the general election after the Union Solidarity and Development and the National Unity parties, with 57 seats.

Nay Myo Wei assumed that the convening of second Panglong Conference would fail to materialise as paragraph two of the Kalaymyo Declaration (which inaugurated the Panglong II idea) said the 2008 constitution and the results of this year’s election would not be recognised.

“This declaration is on the front line of a confrontation. Reform is not included in it. If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi leads in implementing this work, all the people involved in it including Daw Suu may be detained. After this confrontation, a thousand [more] activists will be disappeared from the political scene with arrest and detention. It will jeopardise and paralyse Burmese politics,” he told Mizzima.

Since Suu Kyi was disconnected from the people for many years, she was now reminding and advocating that political parties gauge the response of the people and their political stances, Nay Myo Wei said.

She had christened the would-be conference as the “21st century Panlong Conference”, to be convened in line with an up-to-date outlook.

The Kalaymyo Declaration was issued on October 24 at the 22nd anniversary ceremony of the founding of the ZNC in Kalay Township (Kalaymyo), Sagaing Division. It calls for national reconciliation and the reconvening of the conference, and was signed by Pu Cing Tsing Thang, Mon leader Nai Ngwe Thein, Saw Harry from the Karen National Congress, Arakan League for Democracy leaders Aye Tha Aung and Tha Bahn, Sai Shwe Kyu from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy party, Thaung Ko Thang from the United Nationalities League for Democracy, and at least 100 others.

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 December 2010 12:27 )  

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