Burma-Kachin talks concluded with agreement for further dialogue
4 February 2013: Peace talks between the Burmese government and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) today ended in the Chinese town of ShweLi with an agreement to hold further dialogue before the end of this month.
The agreement however did not give assurance that the Burma Army will cease its ongoing military offensive against the Kachins while further talks are being arranged. But it says the parties will hold further discussions aimed at ‘urgently’ establishing a peace monitoring mechanism in conflict areas.
The government delegation was led by U Aung Min, Minister of the President’s Office while the KIO delegation was headed by Brigadier-General Gun Maw, Vice Chief of Staff of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of KIO.
But unlike the previous rounds, the talks were observed by several third party members from different stakeholders: Mr. Luo Zhaohui from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, top leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU), representatives of the Shan State Army (South), as well as Mr. Harn Yawnghwe and Victor Biak Lian from the Euro-Burma Office.
“The fact that the meeting took place is encouraging in itself. I am hopeful that today’s meeting will result in bringing peace [back to Kachin State],” says Victor Biak Lian who observed today’s talks.
The next round of talks will include discussion on the framework for political dialogue, peace monitoring mechanism and issues regarding humanitarian responses in Kachin State.
The war in Kachin State, which is now nearly two years old since the breakdown of a 17-year-old ceasefire between the Burmese government and the KIO in mid 2011, has displaced over a hundred thousand civilians, and has resulted in the deaths of many Kachin civilians.