Karen Rebel Leaders Meeting Burmese President, Army Chief in Naypyidaw

By Nyein Nyein 4 June 2014

Leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU) and its armed wing are this week meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein and the army’s commander in chief in Naypyidaw, according to the ethnic group.

KNU Secretary Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win told The Irrawaddy that a delegation led by chairman Mutu Say Poe arrived in the capital Monday.

“The talks will include the current efforts around the nationwide ceasefire process, and how the KNU can contribute support for peace building,” Kwe Htoo Win said.

The Karen National Liberation Army’s chief, Gen. Johnny, is expected to meet with Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, his counterpart in the Burma Army. Similar meetings have been taking place regularly as the government attempts to cement a ceasefire agreement with all of the country’s ethnic armed groups, but the two sides have not met since March 7.

“We have been busy with the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team working on the nationwide ceasefire draft and the regular meeting with the commander in chief was delayed this time,” he said, adding that regular meetings were important for the peace process.

“We, both sides, exchange views, and more meetings create a platform for friendly and open discussions between us, who have responsibility for the stability and peace for the country.”

The KNU chair is also accompanied by executive committee members such as Padoh Man Nyein Maung, Col. Saw Roger and Col. Htoo Htoo Lay.

The KNU and the government have been on good terms since signing a ceasefire agreement in Jan 2012. Mutu Say Poe and Min Aung Hlaing have met five times since 2013.