Impasse Between KIO And Junta On BGF

Written by KNG
Tuesday, 08 December 2009

There is an impasse between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the Burmese junta on the Border Guard Force (BGF) issue since October, the deadline set by the regime for transforming all ethnic ceasefire groups to the BGF. There has been no high level meeting between the two sides since then, said KIO sources.

KIO officials in Laiza headquarters near the China border in Kachin State said no meeting has been held because no fresh proposals have come from either side since October.

The two sides met eight times on transforming KIA to the junta-proposed BGF in Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina between April and September. All the meetings failed to yield results.

The KIO’s final demand was sent to Burmese military supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe, which said that the KIO would surrender all weapons if the junta accepts the basic principles of the Panglong Agreement, the historic agreement signed on February 12, 1947 for jointly forming the Union of Burma with multi-ethnic nationalities by Burman leader Gen Aung San and ethnic leaders— Kachin, Chin and Shan, and implement it by means of the agreement. In earlier meetings the KIO had also said that it would like to discuss cooperation on only civil issues like Education, Health and Development with the military government. The political issues would be discussed with the new government formed after the 2010 elections, said KIO officials.

So far, the KIO is yet to receive a response from the junta. The next meeting may be held depending on the junta’s reply to KIO’s demands, added KIO officials in Laiza.

The junta’s BGF deadline expired over a month ago but there is no fresh military tension between the regime and KIO, one of largest ethnic armed groups in northern Burma, according to KIO officials.

But, the KIO’s armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is going ahead with its military preparation in Kachin State and Northeast Shan State in the event of an offensive by the Burmese Army, said sources close to KIA officers.

Fresh military tension, however, is in evidence in eastern Shan State between Burmese soldiers and the two ethnic ceasefire groups— the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), the military allies of KIO.

The military tension became palpable after the junta rejected the rebel’s nine-point proposal last November. The proposal to the junta on November 14 included the recognition of UWSA’s territories and acceptance of its armed-wing to transform to the junta-proposed BGF in principle.

Local military analysts feel that the junta is worried that the scheduled 2010 elections would be jeopardized if it wages war on ethnic ceasefire groups, who have rejected the BGF — like the UWSA, KIO, NDAA and Shan State Army-North.

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