Call for ‘online talks’ to end Kachin conflict


Parliament’s Lower House has urged the Union Peace-making Committee and Kachin armed forces to work towards lasting peace after reducing tension in the northern state and suggested online talks to ensure transparency as “face-to-face” meetings are not feasible at this time.

A statement from the Lower House on January 11 said that lives were being lost on both sides and stressed that the conflict needed to be resolved through “political dialogue”.  If representatives from both sides could not meet in person they could still talk directly online to ensure their discussions were transparent, the statement said.

Despite orders from President U Thein Sein to the Chief of Defense Services late in 2011 to halt all offensives in Kachin State clashes between government troops and Kachin forces escalated last year, displacing tens of thousands of people.

The military ordered Kachin Independence Army forces to withdraw from the Myitkyina-Bahmo route within two days last December 23.  Vice-chairman U Aung Min said the Kachin Independence Organisation objected to an ultimatum from the military.

The number of internally displaced people is now estimated to be about 100,000 by international nongovernmental organisations, double the number at the end of 2011.  People who fled into China to escape the fighting began returning in August when China refused to accept them as refugees.

Karen National Union leader General Saw Mutu Say Poe said the KNU plans to assist in crafting a ceasefire between government forces and the KIA. Local residents of Kachin State have repeatedly called for the end of armed clashes, saying women and children bear the brunt of them.

Suu Kyi pushes for debate over Chinese-backed copper mine Ladpadaung

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 Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo, chairman of MEHL, explains about the company’s involvement in a controversial copper mine to Suu Kyi. (Photo-NLD)

A preliminary report on the environmental and social impacts of the controversial Letpadaungtaung copper mine project will be submitted to President Thein Sein earlier than scheduled, a member of the team investigating the Chinese-backed project said at the weekend.

Khin San Hlaing, also a Member of Parliament for the opposition National League for Democracy, said the chair of the investigative team, NLD Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, had decided to submit the report to the president before January 23, more than one week ahead of its January 31 deadline.

Khin San Hlaing said the report would not recommend whether or not to proceed with a massive expansion of the mine in Monywa Township in the country’s central Sagaing region.

“The report will not decide whether the project should proceed or not,” she said, adding that “only the findings [of the investigation] will be reported”.

The expansion sparked protests by local residents and monks early last month, as well as a police crackdown on them. Continue reading “Suu Kyi pushes for debate over Chinese-backed copper mine Ladpadaung”

BURMA: Reuters reporter uncovers faults(wrong pics) in Al Jazeera’s ‘Hidden Genocide’

 “The image used at 16 minutes 16 seconds of the video clip is not from Sittwe as Al Jazeera claimed,” the Reuters reporter said. “The incident in that photo was from a blast in December 2011 at a state-owned medical warehouse in Yangon,” he wrote.

“I myself took that photo for the Reuters.”

“There are also [other] mistakes in the footage. They said that the arson attacks occurred on June 8, but there were no fires in Sittwe [then]. They first happened in Mingan village on June 10. I saw a few snapshots of fires mentioned as ‘occurrences on June 9’ in the footage,” he added.

The image used to depict an arson attack on June 8 was a photo taken by a photographer with news agency Agence France-Presse on June 17, Soe Zeya Htun wrote. He stressed that he was not claiming the whole footage was right or wrong, but he was of the view there were some errors.

In the mid-December, however, Minister of Border Affairs Thein Htay dismissed the use of the word “genocide” to describe the conflict.

“Just think for yourselves,” the Minister said, explaining that the number of “them” [Bengalis] living in the state had risen from 250,000 in 1980 to 1 million last year.

“Neither the residents of Rakhine nor the Bengalis were terrorists,” he added. “It was a clash between the two ethnic groups. Both groups have political interests and they tend to use the media for their gain,” the minister said.

“We will respond [to specific media reports] if necessary. We do not want to waste our time,” he said.

The Hidden Genocide, documentary broadcasted by Al Jazeera Television used some photos which were taken in other events by Ko Soe Zaya Tun(, reporter from Reuters . Ko Soe Zeya Tun explained in his social network, Facebook, that 16 min 16 sec of displayed time of Al Jazeera’s documentary showed some photos, they said situation in Rakhine State, these were taken by myself in the firing in Yangon, exactly in Set San Township. “They used my photos, pretending as the Rakhine events” , said Reuters’s reporter.

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