Maj Lao Hseng
23 May 2007 S.H.A.N
The planned historic meeting between the Burma Army and Shan State Army (SSA) South on the border today was postponed indefinitely after the Burma Army delegation failed to appear at the venue, according to SSA leader Col Yawdserk.
Speaking from his Loi Taileng base, opposite Thailand's Maehongson, the 50-year old commander expressed his "disappointment" that the meeting failed to take place as planned. "I hope both sides will regard this only as a temporary setback, as it will truly be in the interests of all those concerned if we can meet sometime in the near future."
The meeting was called off reportedly because both sides could not agree on the venue. The Burma Army had wanted its first get-together with the SSA delegation led by Assistant Secretary General and Spokesperson Maj Lao Hseng to take place in Tachilek. "The first meeting, we believe, should be at a neutral location," said Yawdserk. "But future meetings can be held anywhere, even Pyinmana, if sufficient mutual trust has been built up."
The SSA South, since 1996, has been calling for peace talks with the Burma Army. The latter had in the past insisted that the former had no choice but to surrender. The latest call for the meeting had come from the Burma Army, that had for unexplained reasons made a complete U turn in its policy towards the SSA.