KIO Offers to Halt Hostilities

A soldier prepares to load his KIA-made grenade launcher during a long assault on the Hkaya Bum outpost on Jan. 20, 2013. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) issued a statement on Friday saying that its armed wing would immediately stop fighting if government troops end their offensive against the group.

Calling for “political ways of negotiation,” the KIO said that peace talks should proceed with the help of international and other organizations.

The move comes exactly two weeks after the Burmese government announced a unilateral ceasefire on Jan. 19 that collapsed almost as soon as it came into effect.

In the statement, the KIO also blasted the government’s “one-sided” account of why the conflict continues, saying that the Ministry of Information had released reports to state-run media blaming the KIO for the failure to hold further peace talks.

Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut, who is also a spokesperson for the President’s Office, said on his Facebook page on Friday that the he welcomes the KIO declaration that it would stop fighting.

“As for holding peace talks, the government and the army are already trying to do that, so we welcome the KIO’s remarks on that subject. However, I have no comment to make about their accusation that the government’s information is one-sided,” he said.

President Thein Sein, in a speech broadcast nationwide on Friday morning, also said that it is time for all parties to sit and negotiate rather than fighting each other.

“Now is the time to have a conversation and negotiate for peace, for all of our people want genuine peace and stability. I would like to urge all concerned groups and their leaders to come to the negotiating table,” he said.

Some observers said that the KIO statement could be a signal that the conflict in norther Burma is coming closer to an end.

“We welcome the statement of the KIO, which opens the way toward peace. Peace talks between both parties might be held in the second week of this month, although we don’t know exactly where they will take place,” said Hla Maung Shwe of the group Myanmar Egress.

Meanwhile, according to Maj Min Htay, a spokesperson for the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, an ally of the KIO’s armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the situation near the KIA’s  headquarters of Laiza was calm on Friday.

“Two shells fell near Alin Bon mountain yesterday, but today it is calm,” he said, adding, however, that  there are still governments troops camped on nearby mountains.

3 Responses to KIO Offers to Halt Hostilities

  1. Ceasefire can bring temporary peace. Political dialogue will bring lasting peace. So, both sides need to stop firing guns. Then, start political dialogue. Political talk must be mediated by China or US or any western country. If the UN can do it, it will be really likable. Agreement without third party cannot be trusted since the Burmese junta cheats all the time.

  2. very much welcome to bring good news that looking toward peace & offer cease fire.
    Burma is bearing plenty of fruits and let people to enjoy their life in fruitful.
    Nothing to hunt enemies in Burma just need to hunt is PEACE.

  3. There’s no point for hate each other and killing each other for political differences between KIA and Burmese Government. Both sides need flexible and compromising on their standing points when they negotiate for peace and reconciliation.
    If both sides have honestly wanted Peace and Reconciliation and then they don’t need middle man and direct dialogue friendly and frankly to each other. I believe they will reach peace agreement between KIO and Government if they dialogue in good faith.
    They need to forget and forgive past mistake. Hatred and War will go nowhere and no peace for peoples of Kachin state.
    Most importantly, Gen Min Aung Hlaing needs to keep its Army truce promise and KIA needs to cease all military activity.
    Both sides should be allowing foods and medicine supplies to refugees who live in camps and to peoples who are still living towns and villages.
    Don’t waste human lives and money for war.
    KIO must understand the Democracy in Burma is very early stage and they can not get 100% what they wanted. I believe next coming Federal and State election will give ethnic peoples more control over their state. Current Burmese political situation is unclear because Military Chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing’s power is above the Government. Also ex Dictator Than Shwe is believe to be actively controlling Army and USDP. All parties need to patient and wait for opportunity.
    Kachin peoples and Myanmar peoples are brother regardless of which religion they practice. If we get peace in Burma and then we can call the place “heaven on earth”. Please, do it for country and peoples.

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