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Published on Monday, 24 December 2012 17:10
The United States is calling for peace talks between the government and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).
In a press statement released Thursday, Washington urged both the government and the KIO to take immediate steps in establishing a dialogue process that will build trust, address the underlying causes of the conflict, and facilitate international access to refugee camps in Kachin State.
A delegation led by US Ambassador Derek Mitchell visited the refugee camps in Myitkyina and Waingmaw on December 17 and 18 and discussed the ongoing conflict with government and security officials, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), and civil, political and religious leaders.
The press release also noted that the US has provided approximately US$5 million in assistance to IDPs in Kachin State, including funding for food, water and sanitation, shelter, non-food items, camp management, psycho-social trauma counseling, protection services, and empowerment training.
Since June last year, an armed conflict has erupted between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army, the military wing of KIO, after the collapse of the 17-year ceasefire agreement.
According to the press release, there are about 80,000 IDPs at the refugee camps in Kachin State.
Eleven Media earlier reported that the government has made an offer to hold peace talks on December 13 but the KIA has yet to respond.