Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 14:32
As skirmishes between government and rebel troops escalate in the northern state of Kachin, representatives from both sides began peace talks brokered by China at a hotel in the Chinese border town Ruili today .
The Kachin Independence Army’s vice chief of staff, Maj-General Guan Maw, and Swam Lut Gam and La Phai La and second line officers represented the Kachin side. The union government sent ministers Aung Min and Ohn Myint.
Aung Kyaw Zaw, a former member of the Burma Communist Party, told Eleven Media, that both sides sent high-ranking officials because China sent officials from Beijing.
“Although the discussion is unofficial and informal, the participants have high-ranking positions. It is because the third party is represented by Chinese officials from Beijing. I believe some are from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and some are from the Ministry of Defense,” he said.
Reporters are at Jind Cheng Hotel, the venue of the discussion, but do not have access to the officials.
The last round of talk arranged by the union government and the Peace-talk Creation Group unraveled, but Aung Kyaw Zaw said Friday’s statements from both sides suggested both were more eager to ensure success this time.
He cautioned, however, that “the government needs to choose a gentle way to seek a solution for making peace with the [Kachin side]”.
“If the government tries to keep the upper hand a solution will be difficult to reach,” he said.
The last peace talks were held in Ruili, China on October 30. The government side was led by Aung Min and representatives of the Kachin Independence Organisation were led by Swam Lut Gam. Bureau of Special Operation Lt-General Myint Soe, from the Ministry of Defense, did not attend as planned because Kachin Independence Army vice-military chief Maj-General Guan Maw did not attend. The talks failed.
Skirmishes between government and rebel troops intensified after December 23 when the government gave the KIA two days to withdraw all troops from areas near the Myitkyina-Bhamo highway. Fighting intensified after the KIA rejected the order.
At the end of December, government troops began airstrikes on Kachin positions near Laiza town, the KIA’s administrative centre, taking a hilltop outpost of KIA Brigade 23.
Last December there were more than 1,000 skirmishes in Lajaryan region, about 8 kilometres from Laiza town.
As the fighting escalated, international pressure to end it mounted.
On January 18 the government announced an end to regional military operations in Lajayan region as of January 19, after its army seized Lajaryan camp.
Both the government and KIO issued statements last Friday. In its statement, the KIO said it was coordinating with the government to start talks and pledged to cease all military activities that could worsen the conflict if the government’s military ended its offensives.
The government’s statement reiterated its stance that peace could only be achieved through dialogue. It also said that it welcomed peace efforts facilitated by ethnic groups and other organisations trying to help the government and Kachin side resume peace talks.
National Latest News
- Press Council and Int’l Media Support to draft ethics code for all journalists
- Myanmar to hold its first-ever international women’s conference
- Service centres for Myanmar migrant workers to open in border areas
- Myawady border bridge collects Ks 25 million
- Kachin IDP's return home despite ongoing peace talks
- Millions lost in illegal timber trade with China
- Police unable to confirm celebrities’ past drug scandals
- University students return to live on campus
- Yangon car horn-free zone a failure says traffic police
- MPA to construct seven new wharves in Yangon