Some 150 Shan representatives from across Burma are currently gathered at Shwe Gondaing Road in Rangoon for the November 26-28 “Shan Conference on Trustbuilding for Peace.”
According to the Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.), the event is “expected to be a lively affair” and will likely include high-profile participants such as Burma’s Vice President Sai Mawk Kham, President’s Office ministers Aung Min and Soe Thein, noted scholars Sai Aung Tun, Dr. Sai Hsang Ai, Dr. Sai Kham Lake, Yin Yin Nwe (aka Sao Ying Noi Mangrai) and Dr. Nang Hawm Lake, Lt-Gen Hso Ten of the Shan State Army- North, and Brig-Gen Pawng Kherh representing the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army.
Hkun Htun Oo, the popular head of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy party, is also due to participate. According to S.H.A.N., Hkun Htun Oo plans to organize a subsequent conference in Shan State following the conclusion of this forum on Wednesday.
Many observers say that, if successful, the Rangoon and state conferences will be followed by a Union-level meeting, all of which will be vital steps in the peace process.
Organizers in Rangoon circulated a 10-page questionnaire ahead of Mondays’ meeting requesting opinions and debate on such issues as: politics, armed movements, community-based organizations, a population census, education, drugs, Shans who have been assimilated, economy, and social institutions.
According to 7 Day News Journal, Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator Aung Min urged all stakeholders “to reach a common understanding on the long-misinterpreted federalism, power-sharing and resources sharing.”