Monday, August 6, 2012

Agreeing on meeting place blocks peace talks

Monday, 06 August 2012 15:08 Mizzima News

The Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) continue to negotiate over a suitable site for the next peacemaking negotiation session, which is proving no simple task.

Meanwhile, armed clashes with casualties and wounded continue to occur.

Kachin Independence Organization leaders and a Burmese government peace delegation discussed a cease-fire for two hours in November 2011 in Ruili in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. Photo: Mizzima

The government wants to meet in government-controlled areas. The KIO says, “No.” It proposes Ruili, in Yunnan Province, China. The government says, “No.”

So far, the KIO has turned down proposals to meet in Bhamo or Muse, government-controlled areas. The KIO has proposed Prang Ngawn or Ruili.

“If they [the government] agree to a meeting at a location proposed by the KIO, we can set the date. But we refuse to meet in Bhamo (Manmaw) or Muse because it’s just not a good idea. We suggested Prang Ngawn but they said no. It’s our policy to have strict rules about where our leaders meet with the Burmese government,” Lah Na, a KIO spokesperson, told the Kachine News Group in a story published on Monday.

Some of the locations the government peace team has suggested are used by the Burmese military to conduct offensives against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

“They proposed meeting us in Bhamo… . It’s not safe to meet there, they may have a plan. They have reinforced their troops in the area for more offensives against the KIA,” said Lah Nan.

The KIO said that at night, the government has sent troops into KIA-controlled territories for clandestine military operations. In the daytime, the soldiers change into civilian clothes and try to blend into the community, it said.

In July, there were at least 96 clashes between the KIA and Burmese military, according to the KIO.

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