Wed 13 Mar 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military,News
The renewed peace talks between Myanmar Union Level Peace Working Committee and the KIO/ KIA, with the participation of the military leaders from both sides for the first time, came to a pause with no breakthrough after nearly 12 hours of talks on March 11.
But the two sides agreed to continue their negotiation at the Chinese border town Ruili to map out a ceasefire agreement. It is not clear how many days the two sides will give themselves before departing Ruili.
The two sides took a brief break for lunch. The talk ended just before midnight.
A joint statement released at the end of the meeting with the agreement to swing ahead until a ceasefire is reached with the hope for genuine political dialogue based on mutual understanding, respect and trust. The agreement was properly recorded and signed by both sides.
Myanmar high ranking military officer from bureau of special operation Lieutenant General Myint Soe of the Ministry of Defense said, “Today, we decided to forge ahead until both sides agreed for ceasefire. Both sides agreed to come forward for collaboration to stop fighting. The main achievement of the day is to continue in the endeavor for firm and solid truce”.
Deputy Commander in Chief Major General Guam Maw of the KIO / KIA said, “Today’s result was signed by both sides in the meeting minute’s documents. The most important agreement is to exert efforts to step into political dialogue. Looking forward to sign solid ceasefire agreement was the main theme of the day”.
Earlier, the agenda of meeting was set to cover topics such as that of the affairs of military troops from both sides, that of the disengagement of troops in the areas, and that of achieving tangible trust, with the hope to ink on papers. However, at the end of the meeting, it failed to reach a ceasefire agreement.
“We need to have mutual understanding and make preparations until we can reach the deal for ceasefire. We signed in the meeting’s records in order to reach the agreement for the ceasefire. The ceasefire deal needs to be strong. It depends on our negotiation for future work procedures. In this place, mutual understanding is a key factor. We will keep on striving for the strong permanent ceasefire,” Major-General Gwan Maw said.
In the clashes between the army and the KIO/KIA, the army wished the ceasefire while the KIO/KIA constantly demanded the political dialogue rather than the ceasefire. The KIA/KIO agreed the ceasefire in principle. Moreover, both sides agreed to go on the peace talks until they have seen the strong ceasefire based on the mutual understandings and respects at the peace talks on March 11.
Both sides agreed to continue negotiating military affairs of both troops in the places where there may be conflicts, to inform necessary instructions and orders to both troops and to set up offices of negotiating and monitoring battle fields in the conflict-areas where necessary, Lieutenant General Myint Soe said.
“The talks took a long time because we had to make compromises. Both sides coordinated in many things,” he said.
KIA’s Major General Gwan Maw said the talks were late as they had to discuss a lot of points after adopting a policy first. It could not be said the talks of one day and one night was long as they had to discuss on the matters of a year-long war.
The peace talks were held with the arrangements of the Chinese government, where President Office Minister Aung Min headed the Myanmar delegation comprising Lieutenant General Myint Soe of the Ministry of Defense, North-East Command commander Brigadier General Aung Soe, Northern Command commander Brigadier General Tun Tun Naung, Kachin State Minister for Border and Security Affairs Colonel Than Aung and Colonel Kyaw Soe Win of the Ministry of Defence.
As the peace representatives of KIO / KIA, U Swan Lut Gam represented as leader with KIA deputy commander in chief Major General S. Gwan Maw, Colonel Zaw Yaw, Colonel La Phine La, Colonel Khun Naung, Salankabar Khun Naung, Colonel Zaw Taung, Lieutenant Colonel Naw Bu, Major Sinn Khaw and U Naw Htwaie.
The talks were also attended by Chinese officials and the representatives from various ethnic parties and groups in Myanmar. They included minister-counsellor Mr Wang Zongying and two officials from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry and the representatives from the United Nationalities Federal Council, Karen National Union, Mon New State Party, Pa-o National Liberation Organization, Karenni National Progressive Party, Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army, Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army, National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State and Kachin State Peace Creation Group.
The deputy chief of staff Zhoa Zhoungden from UWSP/UWSA and a spokesperson of it were scheduled to attend the peace-talk, however they did not make it because the Chinese government did not issue the entry visa, source said.
The Peace Committee and KIO had released a joint statement that they both agreed to bring the effective ceasefire urgently after the previous peace-talk held in Ruili on February 4.
The officials for peace working committee were attempting many times to take place the peace talk before February 4. The attempt was failed because the government had beefed up its troops in Kachin State and Northern Shan State, sources claimed.
The KIO has been requesting the government that it preferred to have political dialogue than the ceasefire in the past 12 peace-talks.
At the peace-talk held in Ruili last October, both sides were planning to focus on deployment of their troops. It failed because Lieutenant General Myint Soe for Bureau of Special Operation and Major General Gwan Maw of KIA were did not show up on that peace-talk. The fights escalated during last December.
The Union Peace Working Committee and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of 11 armed ethnic groups, held a second round of peace talks in Chiang Mai, Thailand on February 20 to begin their political negotiations.
The Union Peace Working Committee plans to hold another round of meeting with KIO before April 10, comprising military leaders from both sides, reports said.
Various comments have erupted over the peace talk between the Union Peace Working Committee and the KIO.
“You cannot get peace without the participation of the army. As the army has to be included, senior army officers are here today. I hope for the best when they meet. Now, we are trying to (reach an agreement on) ceasefire based on the current situation. As for the issue about the movement of army troops, we will work on (it) after other (issues) have been solved,” said Lieutenant General Myint Soe of the Ministry of Defense.
“In order to have an effective ceasefire, both sides need to continue making negotiations. For example, we need to continue making negotiations about the deployment of army troops near each other,” he said.
He added that a monitoring system will be set up over the areas where the skirmishes have mostly occurred and the two sides will continue discussing about demarcating the territory.
“The army prefers the peace and KIO also. We will try it to be succeeded. We will go next step after we discussed. It will depend on how much we understand each other and how much we have time to discuss. Today result is to continue to do political discussion. After that, the important fact is to continue to have agreement for ceasefire. We expect to go step by step to build the trust between us. We expected to implement mutual trust between us,” KIO/KIA Deputy Commander-in-Chief Major General Gwan Maw.
“We will try to negotiate for the ceasefire. We will reduce the arm conflicts like we did on February 4. The decision is to have truce. We need mutual understanding to sign ceasefire agreement. The army told that they want to sign ceasefire agreement. We need to prepare for truce agreement. We believe that we will reach the agreement soon. We have to find a better solution to end the arm conflicts. And we always think of the safety of our people” he added.
Brigadier General Tun Tun Naung, Commander of Northern Command said: “Now, we maintain the current skirmishes to a minimum level. Meaning is that we order everyone’s movement in a systematic way. We are going regularly on the normal routes. The system is very effective. From the KIO side, they reduce fighting considerably. To give further orders depend on that result. The way we are going also depends on the result.”
He said: “We don’t need to recount the matters over the fighting. Both sides can’t say who was wrong or right as there was no ceasefire in the real situation. So, we don’t need to discuss the matters of the past. We are to move ahead. We must do the tasks that will lead the peace dialogue. We have to forget the past. There is no value to discuss the matters of the past.”
“We are holding peace talks step by step because we want mutual understanding and complete peace process, not just to make a ceasefire. We are always seeking for political dialogue. We’ll reduce the fighting during the peace negotiation. We’ll discuss phase by phase until we achieve peace completely,” said Colonel Zaw Taung, member of the central committee of KIA Adjutant-General’s Office.
Lamai Gawnga of Kachin Peace Creation Group also expressed his views. He said: “In my opinion to reach a ceasefire agreement, a lot of discussions will be needed on how we will go into details. KIO said that they already submitted the matter to the headquarters. We will make further discussions depending on their responses. Generally, we have prioritized a ceasefire. KIO, on its part, accepted it in principle. The second point is to have communication routes. We have already talked about it and it is finalized.
Next, we discussed to choose a venue for opening a liaison office for mutual communications. Moreover, we discussed the rehabilitation of IDPs. We also discussed the reopening of Myitkyina-Bhamo Road for the public.”