The UN Secretary-General’s special advisor on Burma, Vijay Nambiar, met with the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in the armed group’s Laiza headquarters on Wednesday.
Gathering information ahead of a presentation on Burma to be made to the UN General Assembly in New York later this month, Nambiar spoke with KIO leaders including the organisation’s president, Lanyaw Zawng Hra, and a technical advisory team made up of party members and civilians.
The meeting was facilitated to discuss the topic of ceasefire, as clashes between government troops and the KIO’s armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), continue to mar the peace process.
San Aung, mediator in ceasefire discussions between the KIO and the Burmese government, was present as KIO officials met Nambiar. He told DVB that three separate battles raged as the UN delegate urged greater sincerity on the part of the KIO in regards to peace talks with the government.
“The KIO leaders said their group was engaged in three clashes concurrently as they held their meeting with the UN official, two of which were provoked by the government forces assaulting KIO positions,” said San Aung.
According to media outlet Kachinland News, the Burmese army is committing further troops to the war against the KIA in southern Kachin and northern Shan states.
The news agency quoted local sources as saying that a convoy of 13 military trucks carried Burmese government troops from Myitkyina to Man Dawng village in the area under the control of the KIA’s 3rd Battalion on Wednesday. A second convoy of 13 trucks carried government troops from Lashio to Nam Hkam and Muse in northern Shan state later that day, Kachinland News reported.
In Muse on Tuesday, the KIA’s 9th and 36th battalions fought the Burmese army’s 14thand 568th light infantry battalions respectively. No casualties were reported, however Kachinland News reported that the KIA’s 36th battalion were forced to relinquish their frontline position to a government assault on their lines.
According to San Aung, the KIO told Nambiar on Wednesday that such “clashes signify a weak effort in building confidence among the troops and that the Burmese Army needs to be magnanimous and participate more in the trust building.”
The KIO perceive the government to be reluctant to engage them in political dialogue and retain fears that the peace process will stall after the signing of a nationwide ceasefire pact.
According to San Aung in the meeting, Nambiar pledged that he would stay involved in the process until peace is achieved, a statement welcomed by KIO chiefs.