Tens of thousands of local Kachin people warmly welcomed the peace delegation of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) arriving Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in Myanmar today to resume peace talk with the government peace delegation.

UN’s special envoy to Burma, Vijay Nambiar, attended peace talks on Tuesday between the Burmese government and Kachin rebels in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, the first time the UN high official has participated in such negotiations.

The peace talk will be resumed tomorrow at Ma Jwel Hall of Manaw Sports Ground in the city.

The government delegation led by Vice-chairman Aung Min of Union Peacemaking Committee went to Nan Sanyan village, 60 miles away from Myitkyina to welcome the Kachin delegation there.

Hswan Lut Gan leads the Kachin delegation which also includes Deputy Commander-in-Chief Major General Gwan Maw of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) as a member.

It is the first time the top-ranking officials from KIO arrived in Myitkyina in two years since the armed conflicts has started between them in June 2011.

For that, local people from several villages and many refugees from IDP camps in Kachin welcomed the Kachin delegation waving KIO flags along the road they came.

“This shows the peace is wanted by all people in Kachin. It is also very important for the whole country’s development,” said Kachin State Chief Minister La John Ngan Sai responding to a question concerning how he felt about the situation where hundreds of thousands of local Kachin people warmly welcomed the Kachin delegation.

“[We] want to show KIO represents the whole people in Kachin. And we want to show everyone what we are holding is the Kachin national flag,” said Ma Htwel who was among the people who welcomed the Kachin delegation.

“It’s estimated that there are over twenty thousands who welcomed the delegation. This shows the local Kachin people strongly supports the KIO, although the state media previously reported the KIO was not wanted by the local Kachin people and the KIO did not represent the Kachin people,” said La Mai Gonja from Peace-talk Creation Group (PCG).

The government peace delegation arrived in Myitkyina two days ahead of the peace talk. The government peace delegation comprises of 44 members including Aung Min as the leader and Lt-Gen Myint Soe of the Ministry of Defense.

A team from KIO including techies as its members arrived in the city ahead of the Kachin delegation that consists of 48 members.

The peace talk between the Union Peace Making Committee and the KIO was last held in Ruili of China on March 11, attended by leaders of both sides and it continued over midnight.
Both sides earlier agreed to continue the peace talks until they reached a ceasefire.

Both sides failed to keep going the peace talk in April, but postponed it to May.

Vijay Nambiar, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser to Myanmar, and Chinese observers as well as delegates of nine ethnic armed groups will attend the peace talk to be held tomorrow, sources said.

The peace delegates said that China has tried to influence the previous peace talks held in Ruili, a border town of China.

Although the KIO invited the US and the UK as observers to participate in the peace talk tomorrow, China objected to it, according to sources.

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