Myanmar gov't-KIO peace talks remain to be continued

January 21, 2012 10:00 am 

By Feng Yingqiu

YANGON, Jan. 20 — The two-day peace talks between Myanmar's central government and the Kachin ethnic armed group — Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), which ended on Thursday at Jingcheng Hotel in Ruili, southwest China's border town in Yunnan Province linking Myanmar, produced no results so far, according to state media.

However, the peace-making group of the central government, led by U Aung Thuang, and representatives of the KIO, headed by Swam Luk Gam, issued similar statements saying that the peace talks will continue through political means to realize eternal peace and to decline military acceleration.

Declaring that information of the meeting will be issued to the public, the two sides will coordinate matters related to military units of both sides in the hot spots to control military activities and build trust, the statement added.

The talks over the last two days was a follow-up of the preliminary one initiated at state level at the Spring Hotel in Ruili on Nov. 29, 2011.

The Myanmar government's central-level peace making group has vowed to make every effort to achieve peace with the country's ethnic armed groups, saying that "In making coordination and negotiation, there are no restriction on both sides and measures are being taken in all possible ways to achieve success."

"Steps are also being taken through the means of politics and roundtable discussions avoiding any military tactics," the government peace makers said, believing that "unity and peace and stability will completely be achieved among the national races."

Meanwhile, President U Thein Sein ordered the government forces on Dec. 10 to stop offensive against the Kachin ethnic armed group and observed a unilateral ceasefire except for self-defense.

The KIO once returned to the government's legal fold in 1994 under a ceasefire agreement and was regarded as a peace group. However, it, along with four other similar peace groups, rejected to disarm and transform into the government's border guard force as urged, and armed clashes between the government forces and the KIO broke out in the Kachin state in early June near a power project site of Tarpein.

The fighting intensified in August and intermittent battles have been taking place since then, forcing displacement of about 60,000 local people.

Since the president made the peace offer, four ethnic armed groups have reached peace pacts with the central government up to now, namely the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Shan State (North) Special Region-2, the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) in Mongla Special Region-4 and Koloh Htoo Baw armed group in Kayin state and RCSS of SSA-South in Shan state.

Those armed groups having reached preliminary peace agreements with the state governments are Chin National Front (CNF) in Myanmar's northwestern Chin state in December-January and the largest armed group of Kayin National Union (KNU) in Kayin state on Jan. 12.

The KNU and the government initiated the peace agreements at state level in southeastern Kayin state's capital of Hpa-an which include a five-point preliminary peace pact and an 11-point principled agreement for further discussions at central level.

The peace agreement at state level includes ceasefire to be carried out by the two sides, opening of liaison offices in 14 areas, allowing travel without holding arms to each other's territory.

Following the signing, President U Thein Sein also ordered its government forces to stop attack on the KNU to build understanding when the incomplete negotiation is underway.

KNU represents the biggest anti-government ethnic armed group in Myanmar having fought the government for self-administration over six decades.

Under President U Thein Sein's August 2011 peace offer, peace making is being carried out in three phases — the first phase is to ceasefire, set up liaison offices and travel without holding arms to each other's territory, while the second phase is to build confidence, hold political dialogue, implement regional development tasks in terms of education, health and communication, and the third phase is to sign agreement for eternal peace in the presence of the parliament represented by different nationalities, political parties and different walks of life.

The government claimed that since 1994, 17 major anti- government ethnic armed groups and 23 other small groups have made peace with the government.

Of those 17 groups that have made peace with the government, 15 groups laid down their arms completely, while five were transformed into government's border guard forces and 15 into militia.

However, five peace groups rejected to be so transformed, namely, Kachin's KIA, Wa's UWSA, Mongla's NDAA, Mon's NMSP and Kayin's Kayin National Union (KNU). (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/utb

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