VIDEO: Kachin military and community leaders held a Christian prayer ceremony in Laiza shortly before the KIO delegation headed to Myitkyina for peace talks.
A fresh round of peace talks kicked off in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina on Tuesday between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and a Burmese government delegation.
Hla Maung Swe of the Myanmar Peace Centre said the meeting focused on developments since the last round of negotiations in May and the formation of a group to monitor the peace process.
“The discussion today included a topic we called ‘Developments’,” he told DVB on Tuesday after the meeting. “The [Burmese government’s] Union Peace-making Work Committee explained that 18 individuals with connections to the KIO were among the 56 political prisoners granted amnesty today, and 17 were included in the previous amnesty, following the president’s pledge to free them.”
With regard to military affairs, Hla Maung Swe said that since the last meeting there have been no cases of attacks on mines or railways, and that the number of clashes between the two armies has decreased greatly.
National Democratic Force representative Thein Oo, who attended the talks as an observer, praised the transparency of the meeting and said that the potential exists to form a monitoring group.
More than 60 observers attended the Myitkyina meeting, including the UN’s special envoy to Burma, Vijay Nambiar; and members of Shan and Karen armies, and representatives of the all Burma Students Democratic Front.
Nearly 60 representatives of the KIO were present at Tuesday’s meeting, headed by the vice commander-in-chief of Kachin forces, Gen Sumlut Gun Maw.
The Union Peace-making Work Committee was led by chief negotiator Aung Min who was joined by Lt-Gen Myint Soe and other military officers, as well as 26 government officials. Notable among the delegation were: Kachin state Security and Border Affairs Minister Than Aung; Livestock Breeding and Fisheries Minister Ohn Myint; and Kachin state Chief Minister La John Ngan Sai.
Talks will continue on 9 and 10 October.