Naypyidaw Promises Kachins Political Dialogue

A Burmese government delegation (left) mets with KIO representatives in Ruili on Tuesday. (PHOTO: Nang Thiri Lwin / THE IRRAWADDY)

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) said it was promised political dialogue by a Burmese government delegation during talks at the Sino-Burmese border town of Ruili on Tuesday.

Led by KIO politician Sumlut Gam, the KIO did not broach matters relating to a ceasefire between the sides, but instead focused only on calling for a political solution to the ongoing conflict, and fixing a venue for the next round of negotiations, said sources in Ruili.

The government delegation, for its part, felt that the meeting was undermined by the Kachin rebels sending low-ranking representatives to the talks, the sources said.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Sumlut Gam said, “War can break out at any time if we only sign a ceasefire without dealing with the political problems by political means—not military means.”

He said that President’s Office Minister Aung Min promised the KIO that his delegation would discuss items related to political dialogue in the near future. Aung Min also told KIO representatives that he will hold talks with the ethnic bloc United Nationalities Federal Council by December, according to Sumlut Gam.

“The government delegation promised there will be political dialogue,” he said. “And they said they wish to hold the next round of talks in Burma—perhaps in Bhamo or in Muse. The KIO can choose the venue.”

Sources who spoke to The Irrawaddy said that the KIO representatives sought to verify that political dialogue will be on the forthcoming agenda. The government delegation, on the other hand, urged the KIO to help maintain peace and security along the public highway between Kachin capital Myitkyina and the town of Putao in the far north of Kachin State.

The government delegation also asked the KIO to grant permission to the respective authorities so that work can be restarted on repairing the Taping hydropower dam on the banks of the Taping River in southern Kachin State. They also brought up the issue of the reduction of military forces in the northern region by both the Burmese army and the KIO’s military wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Meanwhile, sources close to both the KIO and the government delegation said that the latter was “somewhat displeased” that the Kachin rebels had dispatched such a low-ranking delegation to the Ruili meeting while Naypyidaw’s team included four ministers.

Sources at the Sino-Burma border said that the government delegation also included high-raking military officials. However, Lt-Gen Myint Soe, the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations (1), who oversees military operations in Kachin State, Mandalay and Sagaing Divisions, opted not to attend the meeting after learning that the KIO had sent what he considered a lowly delegation.

Myint Soe and a handful of other military officials decided not to attend the peace talks when they reached the border town of Muse and were told that Maj-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw, the vice-chief of staff of the KIA, and a few other Kachin military chiefs would not be present at the meeting.

KIO sources, however, maintained that Gun Maw was unable to attend the meeting as he is too busy overseeing military activities in Kachin State.

The KIO is the largest ethnic armed group that has not signed a ceasefire agreement with the new government. It has met with government peace delegations several times this year but without tangible results.

According to Hla Maung Shwe, a government peace broker, the Burmese government is now considering withdrawing some of its troops from KIO territories.

Sources close to the KIO said that the Kachin leadership wants talks to include not only ceasefire details but also political affairs, and that negotiations should include representatives of all ethnic armed groups.

Recently, the UNFC said that it will informally meet the Naypyidaw delegation, probably in Thailand during the first week of November.

The Irrawaddy reporter Nang Thiri Lwin also contributed to this article.


7 Responses to Naypyidaw Promises Kachins Political Dialogue

  1. Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to
    go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

  2. Remember KIO, the regime is buying time with these fake meetings and promises that they never tend to deliver before they laund full assault on you. So be vigilant and be ready with the media! The world must know that what KIO is doing is a very democratic process and their demands are the wishes of the Kachin people that are the very master and owner of the Kachin State. We will support you along the way so don’t give up. 

  3. George Than Setkyar Heine

     According to Hla Maung Shwe, a government peace broker, the Burmese
    government is now considering withdrawing some of its troops from KIO
    territories.
    MAKE IT HAPPEN man for the Kachin people STANDING for THEIR RIGHTS and SOVEREIGNTY and BURMA’S AS WELL no less.
    As oft spoken WITHDRAWING ALL BURMESE TROOPS OUT OF KACHIN STATE is the RIGHT REMEDY and NON-NEGOTIABLE for PEACE in Kachin land I say.
    The SAME should be APPLIED in ALL ETHNIC STATES as well BEFORE PEACE TALKS – political wise as well – TAKE PLACE in turn would LEAD to NATIONAL RECONCILIATION at this time and juncture when/where BURMA is UNDER THREAT from Bangali Muslims in the WEST and CHINESE COMMUNISTS (UWSA and SHAN rebels) in the NORTH with their HIDDEN AGENDAS to ESTABLISH their ENCLAVES on Burma’s soil no less.
    I BOW MY HEAD to KIA/Kachins for STANDING TALL – rights, sovereignty and territorial integrity – in this matter since day one until today.
    Myitsone Dam Project MUST BE SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY as well among other Chinese interests in Kachin State and COPPER MINE PROJECT and others – in the Burmese heartland as well.
    Chinese ambassador’s BULL TALK – copper mine project would go ahead despite the people showing their opposition citing negative enviromental impact and others and even if the Burmese government opposed as well – certainly THREATENS BURMA’S SOVEREIGNTY, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY not to mention INSULTING the DESIRE of the PEOPLE of BURMA least of all.
    The communists BACKED DOWN in CHINA when the people of China showed their OPPOSITION on Chinese communist government projects in China.
    The Chinese communists should HEED the WILL/DESIRE of the PEOPLE of BURMA or THEY WILL RUE the DAY when the PEOPLE of BURMA make their CASE, of course would be VERY DETRIMENTAL to the Chinese projects and interests in Burma.
    Hence, WITHDRAWING Min Aung Hlaing’s troops out of Kachin land BEFORE the NEXT ROUND of TALKS takes place would certainly PROVE the POINT – Naypidaw is SINCERE – for that matter – ETHNIC PEACE – vital for Burma’s PROSPERITY and POSTERITY as well like Thein Sein said lately.

  4. as a kachin….i know that burmese gov’t will promise the moon to get what they want……promise, agreement, witness and etc mean nothing to burmese gov’t…..kachins must not put any cent of trust in burmese millitary turned gov’t unless we witness the implementations of the future agreements.

  5. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    I would love nothing more than compromise by both sides. But compromise that’s not a solution is a waste of time. Let’s have compromise that’s a solution.

  6. “Naypyidaw Promises Kachins Political Dialogue”

    Ha-ha.

  7. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy. Compromise- better bend than break.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.