Tuesday, February 26, 2013

KIO postpones talks with govt peace committee

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:57 Phanida

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) has said that it is not ready to attend the Myanmar government’s Union-level Peacemaking Committee's proposed meeting on February 28, according to Hla Maung Shwe, a peace broker.

Minister of the President's Office Aung Min (3rd L back, writing) is pictured on February 4 along with government officials holding talks with representatives of the Kachin Independence Organization in the Chinese border town of Ruili. PHOTO: AFP / Myanmar Peace Center

As part of a draft agreed in Ruili earlier this month, the government’s peacemaking committee leader Minister Aung Min offered to meet the KIO on February 28. But the KIO replied on Sunday that it will not be ready to meet then as the central KIO is still engaged in discussions about the issues.

“They [KIO] replied yesterday [Sunday]. They said that they need some time because the central KIO is still discussing it. Yesterday, they directly and officially informed Aung Min that they are likely to be ready in early March,” Hla Maung Shwe said on Monday.

A KIO central committee member told Mizzima that on February 22 and 23 at the KIO’s headquarters in Laiza it collected the opinions of more than 100 representatives of Kachin people in preparation for the meeting with the government’s peacemaking committee.

“We are not ready to meet the government. Recently, we have collected suggestions of Kachin people,” said a KIO central committee member. “After we [central KIO] have discussed the findings, we will meet the government delegation.

“We discussed what we should do for the future of the Kachin people,” he said. “Under the leadership of the KIO, we agreed to build a ‘Federal Union’ based on the rights of ethnic minorities.”

Several Kachin sources have suggested that foreign countries mediate the talks between the Myanmar government and the KIO.

On February 4, the KIO and the Myanmar government held talks in Ruili, China, where both sides agreed to reduce military tensions and hold political talks later in February.
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