‘Conflict Negotiators’ Meet in Myitkyina

Kachin conflict

A KIA soldier lobs a grenade at Burmese army forces advancing on Hkaya Bum last year. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The first meeting of a new commission to negotiate during armed conflicts in northern Burma met in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina on Wednesday.

Five representatives from the Burmese government and five from the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) are part of the Conflict Negotiation Commission, which formed during bilateral peace talks between both sides earlier this month.

Members of the commission are tasked with working together to reduce fighting between the KIO’s armed group and the Burmese army, as the government continues to push for a nationwide ceasefire accord with all armed groups.

Lamai Gum Ja, a member of the KIO advisory technical team, said Wednesday’s meeting was mostly an introduction.

“This was the first time we were getting to know the other members involved in the commission,” he told The Irrawaddy.

“We also talked about how to negotiate systematically if there is conflict. Third, we discussed how to communicate with each other when fighting breaks out. Finally, we talked about setting up an office for the commission.”

He said KIO representatives also suggested that government soldiers reduce hostilities by informing the Kachin army before entering their territory.

Fighting is ongoing between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese army in Kachin State and northern Shan State. In April, an escalation of clashes forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes. They join more than 100,000 people who have been displaced by the conflict since 2011.

In early May, KIA leaders requested a meeting with Burmese peace negotiators. During a meeting in Myitkyina on May 13, both sides agreed to form the Conflict Negotiation Commission.

Col. Naing Aung from the Burmese army’s northern command said the commission would meet during the first week of every month, starting in July.

“We also set up contact points to meet at any time if fighting breaks out and there is an urgent need to solve the problem as soon as possible,” he said.

He said troops from the northern command aimed to provide security on the ground.

“But some KIA troops misunderstand our troop movements and attack our troops,” he said.

He said the Burmese army would inform the KIA of future troop movements in KIA territory.

2 Responses to ‘Conflict Negotiators’ Meet in Myitkyina

  1. KIA troop or Burma army all in same land. KIA is Kachin army and right to protect own land by abuse. Burma army should show how concern & care ethnics until KiA to accept. Do not leave scare on heart of Kachin people.
    Time is not too late and could be solved quickly but the more drag time the more get lost.

  2. If the robbed stuffs from the Kachins are returned back to the Kachins by regime the robber, everything will be just fine. Robbers still want to bargain shamelessly. Ethnics are on the right side of the history while regime is always wrong. What we all want is genuine democracy. If genuine democracy is installed, everyone lives in peace. The problem today is regime. Regime do not want to see real democracy. Without installing real democracy, Myanmar will not see real peace. Crooks and hooks will not build a democratic nation.

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