Wednesday, January 11, 2012

KNU-Gov’t cease-fire agreement possible, say observers


Wednesday, 11 January 2012 12:14 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – If a cease-fire agreement is concluded this week between the Karen State government and the Karen National Union (KNU), both sides must abide by the terms, a KNU official said on Tuesday.

A 19-person KNU delegation is traveling to Hpaan to attend state-level peace talks on Thursday.

KNU peace committee secretary Pado Saw David Taw told Mizzima: “By taking advantage of the cease-fire, both sides should not deploy more weapons in order to pre-empt each other. Both sides should clearly inform each other every time weapons are deployed. Troops from both sides should avoid violating human rights.”

Some observers say that it is likely government representatives and the KNU will sign an agreement because government representatives and the KNU have held three detailed preliminary talks: on October 9, November 19 and December 21, 2011.

The delegation of the Karen National Liberation Army (the armed wing of the KNU) led by Commander in Chief General Mutu Saypo and the KNLA brigade chiefs will meet with the state government delegation led by Karen State Chief Minister Braider General Zaw Min.

Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min, President Thein Sein’s delegate, will also attend the meeting to be held in the Zwekabin Hotel in Hpaan.        

In preliminary talks, the state government has offered to sign a cease-fire agreement that includes opening KNU liaison offices and it has called for both sides to inform the other when it plans to travel outside its respective control areas. The government also asked the KNU to select members of a delegation to attend national level peace talks at a later date.

Meanwhile, KNU has held up construction on the Dawei (Tavoy)-Kanchanaburi Express Road in the Dawei Development Project in Myeik-Dawei District, an area controlled by KNU Brigade No. 4.

Pado Saw David Taw said, “We don’t want to give priority to development work. We want to give priority to rehabilitation. Our people have suffered a lot and their lives have been extremely miserable for more than 62 years, so their lives cannot be directly related with development works. First we want to start work that improves their lives, and then we can do development work that they [the Karen people] can accept.” Local people in the Dawei special economic zone, a massive deep-sea port and industrial complex, have organized campaigns that call for more environmental impact studies and fair compensation for residents who are relocated. The government cancelled a 10,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the project this week, citing the concerns of the residents as a reason.

Recently, the government has sign cease-fire agreements with the United Wa State Army; Mong La Special Area-4; and the Restoration Council of the Shan State / Shan State Army; and the Chin National Front.

KNU delegates who will attend the peace talk in Hpaan and their duties:
No Name Rank (KNU) Brigade-District Remark
1 General Saw Mutu Saypo Commander-in-Chief Central Leader
2 Pado Saw David Taw Central committee member Chief of judicial department Deputy leader
3 Saw El Wa Central committee member Brigade No. 2
(Taungoo District Chairman)
4 Saw Lay Law Taw Central committee member Brigade No. 3
(Nyaunglaypin District Chairman)
5 Saw Gwe Htoo Win Central committee member Brigade No. 4
(Myeik-Dawei District Chairman)
6 Saw Shwe Maung Central committee member Brigade No. 6
(Dupalaya District Chairman)
7 Saw Aung Maw Aye Central committee member Brigade No. 7
(Hpaan District Chairman)
8 Saw Roger Khin Central committee member Chief of health department member
9 Pado Saw Ah Toe Central committee member Chief of forestry department member

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