KIO Asks Govt for Fresh Peace Talks

By Lawi Weng 1 May 2012

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) has proposed to hold fresh peace talks with the government in Prang Ngawn village, of Loi Je Township, near to the Sino-Burmese border, according to the group’s leadership.

The KIO sent a letter requesting further negotiations to government peace negotiator Aung Thaung on Sunday. Naypyidaw had previously suggested peace talks in the state capital Myitkyina.

“It is impossible to hold peace talks in Myitkyina because we have not built any trust yet,” KIO spokesman La Nan told The Irrawaddy. “If they want to discuss a ceasefire, they should come to the village because they say they do not want to talk in other country [such as previous negotiations in China].”

Prang Ngawn village is under the control on the KIO while Myitkyina is under government control.

The KIO refused the proposal last week of negotiations in Myitkyina because the government has deployed even more troops near to their Laiza headquarters and even launched fierce military offensives nearby, said La Nan.

There has been three rounds of peace talks held between the KIO and a Burmese government delegation, led by former Industry Minister Aung Thaung, since fighting broke out in Kachin State last June.

However, there has been no progress due to a standoff on two crucial points—the withdrawal of all government troop from near KIO-controlled areas and having international observers witness the signing of any peace agreement.

The Burmese government has blamed KIO hardliners for the lack of any peace deal. Fighting in Kachin State has forced 70,000 civilians to flee their homes and become refugees living in temporary camps by the Sino-Burmese border.

Government troops set up long-distance artillery to shot at Laiza on April 26 and has also deployed more troops at three locations six to eight miles from the KIO headquarters.

KIO leaders have accused the government of planning to use the artillery to shot their bases and then let ground troops enter.

“We heard reports that [peace negotiator] Aung Min told a press conference that the government will not take the headquarters of KIO,” said La Nan. “But the military is already preparing to seize it.”

He added that there was a huge difference between the words of the government and the actions of the military.

One mine and one bomb exploded in different parts of northern Burma on Sunday. The mine hit a public train in Mohnyin Township, Kachin State, wounding two monks and one civilian. The bomb blast killed one person in Muse Township, northern Shan State.