The Myanmar government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) held a preliminary meeting on Wednesday to prepare for the planned Union-level peace talks that will take place from 8 to 10 October.
General Khun Okka, co-secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), announced that the UNFC will not attend the Nationwide Ceasefire Signing as a representative unit, pending an official invitation from Nay Pyi Taw.
Pado Manman, the Head of the technical support team of the United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC) said that their team will be meeting the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) process support team in Thailand, in the last week of August.
“We have already received a notification letter from the MPC. We will confirm the date of the meeting after deliberations”, Pado Manman told Mizzima.
The UNFC will have an internal negotiation-meeting on August 16 to confirm the exact date of the meeting and notify the MPC.
The UNFC has confirmed that U Aung Min, the Vice President of the Union Peace-making Work Committee will attend the meeting along side technical support teams from both sides.
Dr. Min Zaw Oo, the Director for Ceasefire at MPC said the MPC has not made a decision on who will represent them at the meeting yet.
“We have not confirmed which representatives will attend the meeting. We believe that the meeting will be held for sure”, said Dr. Min Zaw Oo.
Dr. Min Zaw Oo said that MPC will take note of all the voices from every organization. The MPC technical support team will approach the talks in a manner that is inclusive so as to promote political discussions and to further discussion for a future 'Road Map'.
During the meeting, the MPC will be highlighting topics submitted by the UNFC. The details of the topics to be discussed in meeting have not been announced yet.
David Tharkapaw, the Vice Chairman of the UNFC is of the opinion that although the agenda for the meeting has not been announced, they will definitely discuss the topics that will be raised during the meeting.
“We will discuss making rules to bring up political discussions and ceasefires that the President desires to have with various groups. There are many complexities and we will discuss them”, said David Tharkapaw.
The UNFC has requested the Government to make nationwide ceasefire announcements but, no action was taken.
President U Thein Sein, had made an announcement that there are plans to have a grand ceremony for nationwide ceasefire in Nay Pyi Daw in July 2013.
David Tharkapaw also said the program aims to discuss and explain the aspirations of the ethnic people. Both side should cease fire and focus on peace building dialogue.
The UNFC technical support team was formed before the first meeting comprising 5 members headed by Pado Manman.
The pre-discussion ceremony was held on 13th July in Chiang Mai, Thailand between the technical support teams from both sides.
Beijing turns its attention to the on-going peace process between the Myanmar government and Kachin rebels at its border.
“China is keen to see authorities with the central Myanmar government work toward a ceasefire with Kachin rebels,” visiting diplomat Yang Jiechi said on Monday.
At a meeting with Myanmar President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw, Chinese State Councillor Jiechi called for an end to the Kachin crisis by advancing peace talks to ensure stability, allowing for further Chinese investment.
“The government and the Kachin side could maintain the trend of peace talks and reach a ceasefire agreement as early as possible to realize eternal peace and stability in the north and China- Myanmar border areas,” he stressed.
China’s official news agency Xinhua reported Yang saying that the Chinese government would work with Myanmar to help broker a long-term peace with the Kachin Independence Organization.
Writing in Asia Times on Tuesday, veteran journalist Bertil Lintner said, “China's position is clear: it is losing its previously dominant role in Myanmar to the West, and it wants to maintain leverage inside the country.
“China is showing that it can impact the situation inside the country in a way that the United States and European Union cannot. And China's role in this development is much more important than [the] awkward and often misguided efforts by a host of Western interlocutors who have become involved in the efforts to establish peace in Myanmar.”
During the meeting Thein Sein reportedly stated his interest in the countries’ relationship as “friendly neighbors and good friends.”
He expressed Myanmar's welcome of investment from China, promising to create a good investment environment and ensure the smooth launching of the two countries' cooperation projects, Xinhua reported.
The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Myanmar government agreed an eight-point plan last week to push ahead with a nationwide ceasefire accord, to coordinate landmine clearance and refugee return, and to continue political dialogue.
According to a report on Friday by state-run The New Light of Myanmar, both sides also agreed to form a 10-member joint monitoring committee at talks in Karenni State [Kayah] capital Loikaw which ended on Thursday.
Minister Aung Min reportedly represented the government’s Peace-making Committee, while KNPP Deputy Chairman Khun Oo Reh headed the Karenni delegation accompanied by military chief Gen. Bee Htoo. It was the third round of talks between the two sides aimed at strengthening the ceasefire deal.
According to the New Light of Myanmar, the eight-point agreement was as follows:
“(1) To push ahead with nationwide ceasefire accord and continue efforts for all-inclusive political dialogue;
(2) The delegates of the two parties have discussed military affairs and have reached more constructive and progressive results, and the two sides agreed to continue talks about military matters in next rounds of negotiations;
(3) The two parties agreed to shape a joint-monitoring committee as follows:
(a) Two committee members nominated by Kayah State government, two by KNPP and six righteous community elders, adding together ten-member team.
(b) Personnel of the two sides bring together adopting the terms of reference (TOR) to be capable of working together with civil society organizations (CSOs), individuals and local NGOs.
(c) The two parties must not harm, threat or take unlawful measures against monitoring individuals and organizations.
(4) The local people and social organizations will be allowed to observe the new major projects which have been planned to implement in Kayah State including New Village Project; the completion process must be transparent with responsibility and accountability, furthermore the government and persons related to the project must guarantee safety precaution of the local inhabitants.
(5) The two parties call for coordinated actions to clear landmines covered areas with the aim of relocating internally displaced persons (IDPs).
(6) The two parties agree to coordinate a pilot project in Daw-ta-khe in Sha-daw Township for resettlement of IDPs.
(7) The two parties agree to form technical teams to undertake policy agreements.
(8) The government and KNPP also agree to cooperate for regional development.”
KNPP joint-secretary Shwe Myo Thant was quoted by Radio Free Asia as saying that the latest round of talks had yielded some positive results.
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