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The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) met with a Burmese government delegation led by Minister Aung Min on Tuesday in Myitkyina, where they focused on finding a solution to the ongoing conflict in the region, according to Nyo Ohm Myint, a mediator with the Myanmar Peace Centre who attended the talks.
“Negotiations focused on laying down a framework whereby solutions to the conflict may be discussed,” he told DVB, adding that each side is so far taking a slow and tentative approach to these peace talks.
Nyo Ohm Myint also said that the Kachin army’s deputy commander-in-chief, Maj-Gen Gun Maw, took the opportunity to clarify reports in the media that cited him talking about independence while he was in the USA last month.
“He emphasised that quotes about him speaking to the US government about Kachin independence were false,” said the Myanmar Peace Centre official.
Both delegations arrived in the Kachin State capital on Monday morning. The KIO were greeted by thousands of well-wishers who lined the street to welcome the Kachin army.
“A delegation representing the Burmese government’s UPWC [Union Peace-making Work Committee] arrived in Myitkyina around 10:30 on Monday morning,” said Lamai Gum Ja, a mediator at the peace talks. “The KIO invited representatives of the UNFC [United Nationalities Federal Council], the NCCT [Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team], UN Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar, and China’s Southeast Asia Special Envoy Wan Yingfan.”
Lamai Gum Ja said that Nambiar was unable to attend the negotiations but that his assistant would sit in on his behalf.
Tuesday’s meeting is the first time the groups had held bilateral talks since October when they reached an agreement to: avoid clashes between troops; form a monitoring committee; work towards resettling IDPs; and reopen major transportation routes in Kachin State.
In April, heavy clashes resumed in Mansi and neighbouring northern Shan State between the KIO and government forces, forcing the displacement of hundreds if not thousands more villagers, some of whom were already sheltering in IDP camps from hostilities that began almost three years ago.
Kachinland News reported on Monday that clashes had broken out in recent days in Kuktai Township, a Kachin-populated area in northern Shan State, and north of Lawa Yang in southern Kachin State, with the government forces sustaining several injuries.