Govt Invites KIO to Naypyidaw

Government peace negotiator Aung Min in traditional Karen costume after talks with the Karen National Union in Pa-an, capital of Karen State, on Jan. 11, 2012. (PHOTO: The Irrawaddy)

Burma’s President Thein Sein wants the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to hold its next round of peace talks with the government in Naypyidaw as efforts to agree on a location in the northern region or in China have stalled, said President’s Office Minister Aung Min.

Naypyidaw’s chief peace negotiator Aung Min spoke exclusively to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. He said that he had proposed to the Kachin leadership that they travel to the Burmese capital for the next round of negotiations, but that the KIO had yet to respond.

“I believe that if they come to Naypyidaw, we can take our bilateral relationship from what might be called a ‘Minus 4’ position to perhaps a ‘Minus 1’ or ‘Minus 2’,” he said.

He said that it is difficult to agree on a safe venue in Kachin State, and that the government’s top representative, Gen. Soe Win, would not go to Ruili, across the Chinese border, for talks.

Deputy commander-in-chief of the Burmese army, Soe Win, has headed the government delegation in recent talks with the KIO regarding the withdrawal of Burmese troops from front-line positions in Kachin and Shan states where they have about 40 bases.

Aung Min said he earlier proposed that the next round of talks be held in Kachin State’s Bhamo Township, while the KIO maintained that it wanted the venue to be in Loijay, a township closer to KIO-controlled area. Another suggested location, he said, was Muse, a Burmese town bordering China, or in a third country.

Aung Min said that he had met KIO leaders three times, and that he believed he had been successful in establishing a working dialog with the rebels.

“I have already solved many political and economic issues with the Kachins,” he said. “However, we have not solved the military problem. I personally do not have power within the army. This part has to be dealt with by the military leaders from both sides.”

Aung Min has been involved in fruitful negotiations with no less than 11 ethnic armed groups; however, attempts at reconciling differences with the KIO have proved elusive.

He referred again to his Plus and Minus yardstick, saying that a ceasefire agreement can be achieved when both sides reach a “Plus 1” level. He said he rued that relations had deteriorated to a “Minus 4” level with the KIO, but noted that “the situation with the Kachins was already broken before I took over the position as chief peace negotiator.”

Aung Min rejected allegations reported in the media that the Burmese army was refusing, on occasion, to take orders from the president with regard to ceasing hostilities in KIO areas.

“The situation in Kachin State is very complicated,” he said. “That is why we believe it needs to be solved on a step-by-step basis.”

Fighting in Kachin State broke out last June, ending a 17-year-old ceasefire. The conflict has continued since then despite repeated attempts at negotiations. The war has forced some 65,000 people from their homes, some of whom have crossed the border into China.

8 Responses to Govt Invites KIO to Naypyidaw

  1. If both sides cannot find the solution, bring in the third party to mediate. Every attempt must be made until we see what we wanted for too long.

  2. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    The venue of peace talk between the government and KIO should not hamper the will intention of peace negotiation between the two different parties. It makes more sense for KIO to take the offer of Burma national capital as a venue for next round of peace talk where they can actually engage with the decision makers from the Burmese army.

    It is so agitating to see that the pickiness of the location of peace talk is a major barrier for potential breakthrough of peace while tens of thousands of people are being affected at every single minute. This is about time to grow up for both sides and have a view of exchange by taking some risk of their own rather than putting the people in harm way.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    • This is the result of decades of mistrust on the government. History has taught us that the Burmese government is not reliable and always first to break promise or agreement. The best way to solve this solution is to invite third party which is both reliable and trustful, for example, UN representatives. There is no reason to deny such offer for the KIA if such situation are granted. If they do so, it is their own ignorance. I don’t think KIA will neglect such fruitful opportunity for its own people. Peace Burma!

  3. Aung Min said “I personally do not have power within the army.”
    Very clear n funny thing. it means Government can not able to control the Army.And then, he said”Aung Min rejected allegations reported in the media that the Burmese army was refusing, on occasion, to take orders from the president with regard to ceasing hostilities in KIO areas.”
    very funny government in the world. they r still lying;look like car brokers in Yangon, anyhow n anyway they will sell their funny Road Map.

  4. Gen Min Aung Hlaing must sit and direct involve at negotiation table and he must lead the team. Otherwise, the negotiation between Burmese Army and minority ethnics’ Army is fruitless.
    I want see Military chief become defense minister in future reform. Current Burma is governing with two systems by two leaders.
    There will be no peace between Burmese military and minority ethnics’ Army if Military’s chief refused to take order from President and running Army by it own decision. Without peace and stability in country no Government can develop prosperous democracy country.
    President and Military Chief shouldn’t be a rival. Than Shwe had created two rival lions in one cave for his own good. Now Than Shwe is no body regardless of whatever his relationship with Army now. No one should loyal to him because he had done only bad things to country and peoples.
    Everyone in Government and Military needs to break ex dictatorship Than Shwe barrier for good.
    The peace between Burmese Army and minority ethnics’ army is most important factor for to country moving forward.

  5. Representatives from all States, NLD leaders and the President need to talk this issue sitting around one table together. President Thein Sein offered something but different things are happening in the ethnic areas. Instead of having many peace talks, Pang Long style agreement will be more essential and more effective. Instead of trying to follow Than Shwe’s way, Thein Sein rather tries to follow Aung San’s way. We see the current way like “Divide and Rule Policy”. Bringing the Kachins to Nay Pi Taw is not that important as long as Thein Sein is serious enough for PEACE. PEACE talk can happen in a small hut or in a palace. No matter where it happens, the government needs to be serious. So far PEACE seems a million miles far from our current situation. If the Thein Sein government does not know how to achieve PEACE in the Union, bring in third party through the UN to mediate us. It is not a bad thing to ask help from the UN.

  6. As a neutral observer, what is issue of Naypidaw officials not approving a neutral venue as Ruili. I dont KIO officials would agree to Naypidaw as venue when the Aung Min says something and Tatmadaw does the exact opposite. Naypidaw have to show some sincerity.

    • To be fair, Ne-pyi-daw has been unwaveringly consistent in killing/ looting/ raping and shelling- mostly civilians, especially religious clergies- through out the last 18 months with no let up.

      Why KIA keeps on meeting these grinning, lying hyena-esque side shows is beyond belief.

      At least KNU has a point. They want a cut in Tavoy and Maulmein project billions and trade taxes. That is all the new generation wants now to act like the Thais they greatly admires- SUV’s, Karaoke bars, soap factories, casinoes, etc.. After 60 years of death and destruction.

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