Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A seven-member, high-level delegation of the Karen National Union will talk about a cease-fire and peace with the government, said KNU sources.
The KNU held an emergency conference and formed a new negotiation team last week consisting of Vice Chairman Padoh David Tharkabaw, General-Secretary Naw Ziporah Sein, Commander in Chief Colonel Mutu Saepho, In-charge of Justice Department Padoh David Taw, Saw Roger Khin of the health department, Padoh Arh Toe of the forestry department and Pa-an district chairman Padoh Aung Maw Aye.
The KNU has fought against the central government for more than six decades, calling for greater autonomy and equality. Some KNU leaders met with a government delegation recently. No agreement, however, was reached.
After the meetings with the government delegates, the KNU held an emergency conference with its top 50 political and military leaders land appointed the new team.
The Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA), which broke away from the KNU, has recently signed a peace agreement. In 1994, it had a cease-fire with the Burmese military regime, but it resumed fighting after it was pressured in 2010 to transform into a Border Guard Force (BGF) under the command of the Burmese army.
The breakaway group leader Saw Lar Pwe met with local villagers to explain the new cease-fire agreement to about 70 local delegates from 37 villages in their control area.
A villager said: “The government will provide us with some developmental projects such as building roads, bridges and infrastructure. The villagers have endorsed the cease-fire agreement.” The villagers said they wanted education projects. He said DKBA head Saw Lar Pwe (Col. Whiskers), deputy-chief of the DKBA forces Saw Mu Shay, chief of staff Major Saw Sein Myint and Quartermaster General Bo Steel participated at the public gathering.
Maj. Saw San Aung said: “We have to make proposals. The talk isn’t a one-stop solution. We will propose developmental projects. We need clinics, schools, bridges.”
The DKBA signed a new cease-fire agreement with the government on November 3, after their second meeting. U Thein Zaw, secretary-2 of USDP, and the chairman of the Lower House ethnic affairs and peace committee, Captain Maung Maung Thein, represented the central government.
The agreement includes ending hostilities, opening a DKBA liaison office in the border town of Myawaddy, demarcating control areas of the forces, to inform the other side if forces travel outside of their areas and to proceed with further talks.