“We had followed her when she was struggling against the regime’s predecessor,” said Khun Thurein, deputy leader of the PNLO delegation. “Now we fear if we continue to fight against Naypyitaw, it would be like opposing her.”
The PNLO was formed in 2007 after a faction of the PaO dominant Shan Nationalities Peoples Liberation Organization (SNPLO), a ceasefire group, had joined the PaO People’s Liberation Organization (PPLO), a non-ceasefire group, led by Hkun Okker. The SNPLO’s late leader Tarkeley had often referred to Aung San Suu Kyi as A-May (Mother).
Yesterday’s meeting was aimed at reaching a formal ceasefire agreement in the near future, according to him.
Khun Myint Tun, elected representative (1990) and former NLD member, acting as head of the delegation had presented a 10-point position paper, the main points of which are:
- The PNLO will never secede from the Union and will never agree to a secessionist proposal
- The PNLO will continue to struggle until equality and right of self determination is achieved
- There must be no oppression of smaller races by bigger races
- The PNLO will endeavor to achieve initial ceasefire agreement
- The PNLO calls for a nationwide ceasefire
- There must be consultations among ethnic groups, political organizations and between them
- There must be freedom of gathering and consultation among PaO people
- The PNLO will cooperate in the fight against drugs
- NGOs and INGOs must be allowed to operate freely in ethnic areas
- There must be enhanced media freedom
Asked what the PNLO thought about the PaO Self Administered Zone (SAZ) as designated by the 2008 constitution, he replied, “That is just a fiction, not real. Because we don’t really have any right to administer our own affairs.”
The PNLO, a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), says the grouping has allowed each member organization to conclude a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw separately. “But when it comes to political dialogue, all of us must work together,” he said.