KIO, Govt Sign Preliminary Agreement, Hopeful of Reaching Ceasefire

Government negotiators and KIO leaders exchange the preliminary agreement they signed on Thursday. (Photo: Facebook/ Hla Maung Shwe)

MYITKYINA, Kachin State—Burma’s government and ethnic Kachin rebels signed a preliminary agreement on Thursday that would reduce military tensions in northern Burma and lead to further progress towards reaching a peace deal. The parties however, failed to reach an official ceasefire agreement.

On the third day of the negotiations in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina, a government negotiation team and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) signed a seven-point statement.

The sides agreed to “undertake efforts to achieve de-escalation and cessation of hostilities” and to “continue discussions on military matters related to repositioning of troops,” according to two points from a translation of the agreement.

Officials said the agreement—although not a ceasefire—marked an important step towards ending further clashes.

“Even though we cannot yet sign the ceasefire agreement, we are satisfied with the results that we have reached so far” said Lt-Gen Myint Soe, a high-ranking government army official who commands the Bureau of Special Operations-1, which oversees military operations in Kachin State.

“Whatever the Tatmadaw did in the past, we and the KIO are brothers. So this time, we are trying to reconcile with our KIO brothers. This is like a common quarrel between a husband and wife,” he said during a press conference.

“Tatmadaw never breaks the promise we make or our discipline. But there is still an uneasy situation at ground level,” Myint Soe added.

Gen Sumlut Gun Maw of the KIO’s military wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said the agreement would help prevent an outbreak of clashes, but he added that it was not a ceasefire.

“We will try to avoid [military] engagement, but we can’t guarantee an end to the war,” he said. “We will reach out to the front line area for those tasks.”

Gun Maw said he was pleased with the preliminary agreement, but added, “We will have to discuss the details.”

Burma’s military and the Kachin rebels have been engaged fighting in northern Kachin State for decades. The ethnic conflict flared up in June 2011 after a long-standing ceasefire broke down. Fighting escalated between late 2012 and early February this year, after which the clashes largely stopped.

Other points in Thursday’s agreement include letting a KIO Technical Team stay in Myitkyina for further discussions with government officials. UN officials, Chinese diplomats and representatives of eight other ethnic militias would also be invited to attend the next round of ceasefire talks.

Two previous rounds of talks had been held in China in recent months, but this week’s talks between the Minister Aung Min’s peace negotiation team, Burma’s military and the KIO were the first to be held on Burmese soil. UN officials and representatives from ethnic militias also attended for the first time.

“This is quite a historic development; the agreements that have been reached here today. That the meeting is being held inside the country is one of several great agreements. And they are being able to lay a framework for sustained peace,” UN special envoy Vijay Nambia told The Irrawaddy in a reaction.

Lu Zhi, counselor from the Chinese Embassy in Burma, said, “I think it is very successful, good for mutual understanding and mutual trust. Finally they got better results… I am looking forward to the next round and hope for better, even better, results.”


7 Responses to KIO, Govt Sign Preliminary Agreement, Hopeful of Reaching Ceasefire

  1. To have national reconciliation is the most important step to achieve real peace in the Union. Why can’t Thein Sein invite all ethnic leaders and hold Union Conference? Talk after talk, we have seen no real truce between the Thein Sein government and the ethnics. These fragile agreements are not about to last long. We demand Union Conference to rebuild the Union of Burma.

  2. I want genuine truce that leads to genuine peace. I don’t want to witness a magic show. Both sides must restraint clashes ahead and we need a watch-dog over the consequences and progress.

  3. There are a lot of things that the public doesn’t know about but I would still say it’s good news!

  4. Whatever it is , bama military thugs have no loss because all ethnics’ lands and resources are not belonged to bama and bama military thugs. Bama and bama military thugs have nothing to claim from all ethnics. Since bama independence , there has been no benefit to all ethnics from all Bama’s business’ profits. Therefore , bama military thugs will sign whatever it is to get even one penny from all ethnics with the threat of their military power. Do not easy to trust those thugs. Those thugs are playing the game with China and US. They also make use of their military power upon all ethnics to gain everything as possible as they can from all ethnics. We, all know clearly those dirty tricks and traps from now and then with evidence of history as well. Finally , those thugs will say something to cross all agreements easily and readily with their any reasons because those thugs are trying to make balance between China and US with the downgrading of DASSK who is caught in the mining, hydropower , Rohingya , ethnics and Muslim crash issues. In fact , those issues are stirred up by USDP but tries to point finger to DASSK for blaming on her. At least , DASSK is invited by Chinese side for visit. If DASSK has no military power , try to use US or Chinese power to face those thugs for every issues stirred up by USDP. Now, it needs urgent resignation of ming aung laing and thein sein in their failure to handle all issues. DASSK should call this demand in parliament with the post of her being commander in chief in military as well. Then, DASSK can change than shwe’s rule of law. DASSK can say what she wants in all the aspects of how to solve those urgent issues but should conclude that she has no military power now.
    If she does not do so, she will win the 2005 election without military power.

  5. I hope Military will follow the agreement and maintain ceasefire with KIA. The peace and reconciliation between and Burmese Government and minority ethnics’ armed group is very important for country moving forward. Refugees need to come back to their village and need assistance from Government. This time Government and military leader need to show sincerity and fulfill it own promises. Also Government and KIA must allow and assist NGO to deliver foods and medicines for refugees. Both sides need to stop blaming each other. Government and KIA should not spend money on ammunition and weapons and they should spend money on development of Kachin state.

  6. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “Whatever the Tatmadaw did in the past, we and the KIO are brothers. So this time, we are trying to reconcile with our KIO brothers. This is like a common quarrel between a husband and wife,” he said during a press conference.
    This is simply BULLYING of course.
    Myint Soe is just downplaying the event no less.
    He is acting BIG (big brother) and WHITEWASHING the BASHING of the Kachins at will using helicopter gunships, heavy artillery. phosphorus (napalm) bombs (banned by international law) and rape as a weapon as well on the Kachins (civilian) population.
    BULLYING YOUNGER BROTHERS and BASING WIVES as well are SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE in CIVILIZED (human) SOCIETIES in case Myint Soe is not getting the idea and message yet until today.
    Gen Sumlut Gun Maw of the KIO’s military wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said
    “We will try to avoid [military] engagement, but we can’t guarantee an end to the war. We will reach out to the front line area for those tasks.”
    Gun Maw said he was pleased with the preliminary agreement, but added, “We will have to discuss the details.”
    Gum Maw is certainly NOT a DUMB nor a DOPE to FALL for that KIND of TALK Myint Soe’s) of course.
    He knows Min Aung Hlaing’s sidekick would EXPLOIT the HIATUS (breather) during the LULL to REINFORCE HIS TROOPS, HARDWARE and REPOSITION them for another FAVORABLE TIME and SPACE to LAUNCH ATTACKS on the KIA specifically when Gun Maw REFUSED to TOE HIS LINE in the future, IMMINENT and INEVITABLE as well given the DEADLINE (2013-14) as RECKONED by the Chinese communists scheduled to complete their projects in Burma.
    In case THIS COMES to PASS (HAPPENS) Gun Maw would certainly GO ON THE WARPATH AGAIN of course trust me.
    “UN officials, Chinese diplomats and representatives of eight other ethnic militias would also be invited to attend the next round of ceasefire talks”.
    That’s ACCEPTABLE of course.
    However, the CHINESE DIPLOMATS’ PRESENCE in ceasefire talks to be held on Burma’s soil is AKIN to the presence of RAT SHIT in a BOWL of RICE for OFFER to BUDDHA/MONKS as we used to say in Burma.
    There is NO CALL NOR WARRANT for Chinese communists SITTING much less LISTENING and TAKING NOTES of WHAT IS GOING ON BETWEEN the KIA/KIO and Aung Min’s lot during the ceasefire talks in the first place I say.
    This is SIMPLY MEDDLING in OTHER PEOPLE’S AFFAIRS/BUSINESS no less.
    Another way to put the matter in perspective: the CHINESE COMMUNISTS ARE the ROOT CAUSE (BEHIND) of the CONFLICT between the KIA and the BURMA ARMY since day one until today.
    The Chinese communists’ presence in the ceasefire talks between the Kachins and the Burmese government and on Burma’s soil as well certainly is NON-ETHICAL and UNCIVILIZED to the point of INTRUDING/INVADING as well on the part of the communists in Beijing for that matter of course.
    WHY ISN’T THERE NO UNITED STATES PRESENCE as well IN THE PEACE TALKS?
    Obama’s SMART and he is NOT DUMB like the lot in Beijing I say.
    The US PRESIDENT KNOWS HIS PLACE and PLAY as well no doubt.
    He knows HOW TO PLAY the GAME most importantly of course.
    No doubt Obama led West know the fact the Chinese are BEHIND ALL the WOES as EXISTING/HAPPENING/PREVAILING in Burma today as well.
    And the WA CARD (UWSA) is the CHINESE ACE UP the SLEEVES of the communists in Beijing as well lest OBAMA and his lot in the WEST forget.

  7. “This is like a common quarrel between a husband and wife”. I wonder whom Lt-Gen Myint Soe sees as the husband and whom the wife in his metaphor. Women’s position in Burmese society is well known…

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