The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and government negotiators agreed to coordinate troop movements in conflict areas to quell further violence after holding a second round of talks this year in Ruili, China on Tuesday.
KIO delegate Lamai Gum Ja said the deal was not an official ceasefire, but rather an agreement to reduce tensions to make way for a potential truce.
“The KIO agrees in principle that the peace talks can only take place when there is a ceasefire – we agreed to open liaison offices and rehabilitate [areas] for the IDPs,” said Lamai Gum Ja.
“We must reduce the military tension to build confidence with one another and to resume ceasefire talks.”
Several ceasefire groups, including representatives from the United Nationalities Federal Council, along with the newly appointed Chinese special envoy Wang Yingfan observed the talks.
According to Lamai Gum Ja, fighting in northern Burma between the group’s armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and government forces has sharply declined, after the two sides met in China in early February following the fall of several key hilltop bases near the rebel’s stronghold Laiza.
“During the meeting on February 4, we released a joint statement [pledging] to reduce military tensions – now there are less clashes taking place than before – and this time round, we are signing an agreement to further reduce the tension,” said Lamai Gum Ja.
According to the agreement, the two sides will begin opening liaison offices to monitor frontline movements in conflict zones and will meet before 10 April this year for further negotiations.
The KIA has consistently called for a political solution to end Burma’s myriad civil wars before signing another ceasefire with the government after a 17-year truce collapsed in 2011.