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Kokang wants to join ceasefire talks

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The Kokang force, officially known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), that went into exile in 2009 following the occupation of Kokang on the Sino-Burmese border, told SHAN it is ready to open “reconciliation talks” with Naypyitaw.

The source, who requests anonymity, is a close relative of Peng Jiasheng, 81, the supreme leader of the MNDAA. “We are willing to put the past behind and look to the future,” he said. “We therefore want to stand together with other ethnic brethrens and open reconciliation talks with the Burmese government.”

One of the obstacles toward this end may be the lawsuit filed by the police force against 4 of its top leaders: Peng Jiasheng, Peng Jiafu, Peng Daxun (Peng Deren) and Peng Dali. It had charged that the 4 had been operating a factory which was producing and selling arms and ammunition illegally.

The result was the Burma Army offensive on 8 August 2009 against the MNDAA, that had since 1989 concluded a ceasefire agreement. The group claimed that it was merely an excuse to attack Kokang that had refused to become part of the Tatmadaw (National defense forces) without the guarantee of political autonomy.

“The government should remove unwarranted charges against our leaders,” he said. “Full autonomy in internal affairs principle enshrined in the Panglong Agreement must also be respected.”

Since 2009, the MNDAA has been regrouped and reorganized under the leadership of Peng Deren, 55, with assistance from “fraternal organizations”, obviously meaning Wa and Mongla.

So far, Naypyitaw has signed initial ceasefire agreements with 9 movements, of which 4 are from Shan State: United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).

It has also agreed to hold talks with the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of 11 movements, which include 4 other groups from Shan State: Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and Wa National Organization (WNO).

As for another Shan State group, Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), one of its leaders told SHAN: “There has been no negotiations with us. We were told in 2009. that we had been officially recognized as a (Burma Army-run) local militia group. That was all.”

Update (1 March 2012)

More on Kokang
Following Peng Jiasheng’s ouster in 2009, his former vice president and rival Bai Xuoqian was installed by the ruling junta as the new head of Kokang. It has now a Border Guard Force, BGF # 1006. In accordance with the 2008 constitution, Kokang is also a Self-Administered Zone. Bai and his colleague Liu Guoxi, both MPs in the new parliament, are reported as two of the known 7 drugloards in Burma’s legislature.

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