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Kachin ceasefire group waver over transformation

June 11, 2009 (DVB), The Kachin Independence Organisation will accept the Burmese junta's recommendation to transform itself into a border patrol force only if a new government is elected who will guarantee them "insurance".

The Burmese government has approached a number of ceasefire groups, including the Shan State Army-North and United Wa State Army, to transform themselves into a border patrol army.

The conditions of the agreement would see a reduction in troop numbers for the groups, with administration of duties becoming the responsibility of the government.

In return, the transformation would be seen as cementing rather fragile ceasefire agreements between the armed groups and the government.

A senior official of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) said that the group would transform but only if both parties agree on certain conditions.

"We agree in principal with their plan and they also agreed in principle with our decision, [but] there needs to be a few changes made to terms," said KIO deputy foreign coordinator, James Lun Dau.

"We will wait until a new government has been elected by the people, otherwise there will be no insurance for us [after the transformation].

"And if the new government shows promise, then our country will be in peace."

In March the Kachin State Progressive Party was set up in lieu of contesting the 2010 elections. The group, although led by KIO vice-chairman Dr Tuja, is not affiliated to the KIO.

Representatives of the KIO however were approached by the government late last year enquiring whether they wished to contest the elections.

The government have made clear that group wishing to become a political party would first have to disarm.

Both the KIO, the Shan State Army-North, and the New Mon State Party have turned down the request.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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