Tuesday, December 20, 2011

KIO, Union-level peacemaking group to talk

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese government has formed a special 11-member peacemaking group to talk to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). No date has been set for the talks.

Aung Thaung, left, and Thein Zaw  Photo: Mizzima
Aung Thaung, left, and Thein Zaw. Photo: Mizzima
KIO spokesman La Nang said it received an e-mail on Sunday, saying the group will be led by Aung Thaung, the Union Solidarity and Development Party general secretary 1.
Signed by Aung Thaung, the e-mail quoted President Thein Sein as saying he had given the responsibility [for peace] to the Union-level peacemaking group, La Nang said.

La Nang said the KIO would form a central representative committee before it officially replied.

Aung Thaung and MP Thein Zaw, one of the  deputy leaders of the peacemaking group, held a press conference in Rangoon on Friday, saying the world had a low opinion of Burma because it could not establish peace and during this government’s tenure peace must be established.

Aung Thaung said fighting in Kachin State continues despite an order issued on December 10 by President Thein Sein to stop all military offensives against the KIO. He said the fighting is not the result of government military offensives, but is caused by miscommunication and other reasons.

“For instance, if one of our military bases needs food, we would send food to the unit a few days before it runs out. Even though both sides know about the president’s order, at that moment arm conflict can break out. The government has not launched a military offensive, and the clashes are the result of confusing ‘military circumstances,’” Aung Thaung told reporters.

“Although we know about the order, if they don’t know, the situation can be tough. That’s reality,” he said. “They cannot say that despite the presidential order, we still fight them. I’m talking about this because I want people to understand the military circumstances in the relevant area.”

Aung Thaung estimated that the peace process could take three or four years.

Meanwhile, according to La Nang, fighting continues on the KIO front lines and the government has deployed more troops in the area.

“No troop have withdrawn,” he said. “Now, the government is deploying more troops and weapons and sending food to their bases via motorcades.”

On November 29, a Burmese government peace delegation and top KIO leaders met in Shweli in China’s Yunnan Province. The KIO told the delegation that it wanted to conduct a political dialogue before seeking a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the KIO said that since fighting broke out in June, about 46,000 refugees are now in camps in Laiza, Maijayang, Bhamo, Momauk and Mansi townships in Kachin State.

Recently, the Rangoon-based Free Funeral Services Society donated about 20 million kyat (about US$ 25, 400) to war refugees in Myitkyina, Waimaw and Bhamo townships in Kachin State.

Aung Thaung (Lower House MP) Leader
Minister for Railways Aung Min Deputy leader
Thein Zaw (National Race Affairs and Internal Peace-Making Committee) Deputy leader
Ohn Myint (from Ministry of Cooperatives and Livestock ) Member
Union Minister Win Tun (Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry) Member
Kachin State Chief Minister La John Ngan Sai Member
Northern Command chief, Major General Zeya Aung Member
Deputy Minister of Border Affairs, Major General Zaw Win Member
Tun Thein (aka) Tun Tun (Lower House MP, Mansi Township constituency) Member
Hkyet Hting Nan (Upper House MP, Myitkyina Township) Member
Colonel Kyaw Soe Win (member of Commander-in-Chief’s office) Member
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