Monday, April 30, 2012

Thein Sein to replace gov’t peacemaking team

Monday, 30 April 2012 14:39 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) – With the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) peace talks at an impasse, Burmese President Thein Sein will name a new peace nogotiation team including a  vice president, politicians and military officials, according to sources close to the president.  The change in the negotiating group is designed to put new life into the talks, which have broken down.

“The new team will comprise many members including senior army officers, parliamentary lawmakers and state chief ministers and will be led by a vice president,” an anonymous source told Reuters news agency, requesting anonymity because the issue was highly sensitive.

Burma's President Thein Sein Photo: Mizzima

The Kachin rebels peace talks are proving to be a final stumbling block to signing cease-fires with all major ethnic armed groups.

Talks with the KIA broke down last week with the rebels saying they had lost confidence in the government’s efforts. Western nations have looked for a resolution to the fighting in ethnic areas as a minimal requirement for the removal of sanctions against Burma.

Thein Sein has made a quick end to fighting a priority of his newly formed government and he has ordered troops to standdown in ethnic areas. However, fighting has continued unabated in Kachin State.

One of the government negotiating teams has been led by Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min. Sources said two government negotiating teams would be consolidated into one, but gave no further details, Reuters reported.

The other top government negotiator, Aung Thaung, is a leader in the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and a former Industry Minister. He is considered a hardliner.

On Saturday, KIO rebels attacked a government office and killed four state employees, and three others are missing. A bomb explosion last week also damaged a bridge near China, authorities said.

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