Wednesday, January 30, 2013

UWSA says it will host Kachin peace talks

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 12:36 Phanida

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) on Tuesday accepted an offer by the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to host peace talks with the Burmese government’s Union-level Peacemaking Committee, UWSA spokesman Aung Myint said, adding that the Wa group would mediate the negotiations and had suggested holding a meeting in Panghsang in northern Shan State.

He said that in response to the Wa army’s offer on January 24, the KIO had sent a letter saying that it accepts the UWSA proposal to meet with the government delegation and accepts the proposed site of Panghsang, the UWSA headquarters, as a venue.

The KIO, however, could not be contacted for comment.

“The KIO accepted our offer at noon today,” Aung Myint told Mizzima on Tuesday. “They agreed to come to Panghsang to meet [with the government’s delegation]. Similarly, the government has already informed us that they too accept our offer to hold negotiations at our base. We are informing each party of the other’s decision.”

Earlier, the government’s Union-level Peacemaking Committee had informed the UWSA that if KIO accepts the offer, then they too will accept it, Aung Myint said.

Speaking to Mizzima on Tuesday, peace broker Hla Maung Shwe of Myanmar Peace Council confirmed that the government’s representatives would go to Panghsang if the Kachins were willing to negotiate. He said that the government’s chief negotiator Aung Min would attend.

Wa spokesman Aung Myint and peace broker Hla Maung Shwe both confirmed that no date had yet been set for a meeting.

“Neither side trusts the other,” said Aung Myint. “But there are now tens of thousands of war refugees. The situation is critical.”

The UWSA signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 1989.
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