Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the 1990 elections’ largest winning party in Shan State, denied this morning that it had been campaigning for opposition to the planned negotiation between the 11 armed movement alliance and the Union Peacemaking Work Committee formed by Naypyitaw tomorrow. Spokesman Sai Lake added,” We welcome any negotiations that aim for democratic reform and genuine federal union. The only things we demand are that they be politically meaningful and transparent.”

The two sides, headed by Nai Hong Sa and Dr Laja on the UNFC part, and U Aung Min on the UPWC party, are reported to be meeting at Sheik Istana Hotel on the river Ping in Chiangmai tomorrow.

U Aung Min was also scheduled to meet Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, President of the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), today. The RCSS/SSA, more commonly known as SSA South, is not a UNFC member.

The SNLD, meanwhile, is planning to hold an all Shan State forum next month in Lashio. The preparatory meeting will be held in Taunggyi on 23 February.

RCSS/SSA leader Lt-Gen Yawd Serk meets UPWC leader U Aung Min in Chiangmai, 19 February 2013. (Photo: facebook/Nyo Ohn Myint)

“After state level meetings are over, we will be working together for a Union Conference,” he declared. “I think all movements outside the country and those inside the country are pushing toward this.”

He is however not sure whether the UNFC will be invited to the Shan State forum. “It is on the pre-meeting’s agenda,” he told SHAN. “Whether or not it will be invited will depend not only on the pre-meeting’s decision but also on the decision of the authorities.”

U Aung Min earlier had written to the UNFC that he would like to discuss on the framework of the political dialogue which is expected to be held later in the year. A draft has been drawn by Working Group for Ethnic Coordination (WGEC), formed in Chiangmai last year. But it has yet to be endorsed by the UNFC, due to the Kachin conflict and to the Kachin conflict and the resulting limited to discuss it thoroughly among the movements. “We want to know what the UNFC has to say about this,” he was quoted as telling Yawd Serk.