Naypyitaw’s Negotiator Postpones Meeting With KIO Leaders

Thursday, 03 September 2009 21:40
Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator and Chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS) Lt-Gen Ye Myint today postponed a meeting with the leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). The meeting was meant to be held in the group’s Laiza headquarters in northern Burma, said KIO sources.

The meeting was originally slated for September 5 but it was rescheduled for September 6 (Sunday). This was because on September 5 a meeting was scheduled between KIO leaders and invited regional Kachin community leaders, according to KIO officials in Laiza.

KIO officials added, the urgent meeting was initiated by Lt-Gen Ye Myint, the ruling junta’s chief Naypyitaw negotiator to all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country but it was again postponed for several days by Lt-Gen Ye Myint himself. A fresh date for the meeting is yet to be announced.
090309-ye-myint If Lt-Gen Ye Myint meets KIO leaders, he will be the first senior military officer to meet them in the midst of escalating military tension between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO and the Burmese Army, according to KIO sources. Regarding the visit of Lt-Gen Ye Myint to Laiza, the KIO leaders do not expect a positive outcome. However, the KIO will welcome the junta’s negotiator from Naypyitaw, said a KIO officer in Laiza.

Col. Thet Pung, a special messenger of Naypyitaw and Commander Maj-Gen Soe Win of Northern Regional Command (Ma-Pa-Kha) based in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, met KIO leaders in Laiza headquarters on August 29 over the clashes with Kokang ceasefire group in northeast Shan State.

KIO officers in Laiza said, the KIO was informed by Col. Thet Pung not to get involved in the Kokang conflict and that it was not the concern of the KIO. He also suggested to KIO leaders not to pay heed to Burmese media in exile.

The junta keeps pressurizing the KIO to convert its armed-wing the KIA to a battalion of the Border Guard Force (BGF) controlled by the Burmese Army ignoring the KIO’s demands for changing KIA to a brigade level Kachin Regional Guard Force (KRGF) and direct participation of the KIO in the new Kachin State government formed after next year’s elections, said KIO officials.

The KIO had twice sent a group of civilian peace negotiators led by Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Saboi Jum, former general secretary of Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and current director of Shalom Foundation (also called Nyein Foundation) to Naypyitaw to meet the junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe to explain the KIO’s demands but the peace group could not meet Snr-Gen Than Shwe, according to KIO officials.

At the moment, ethnic Kachin people inside and outside Burma are increasingly demanding that the KIO breaks the 15-year-old ceasefire agreement with the junta and resumes civil war, according to Kachin media in exile.

From early this week, Kachin civilians in Lweje (Loie in Kachin), Laja Yang village in the controlled areas of the junta and the two KIO controlled areas of Laiza and Mai Ja Yang have sent their important family belongings to Chinese territories by crossing the border in fear of hostilities between the KIO and the junta, said civilians in those areas.

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