(Mizzima) – “Hard-line leaders” of the ethnic Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) are to blame for the failure of progress in peace talks, says Burmese state-run media.
“Eternal peace in Kachin State is still a pipe dream for the nationalities there due to some hard-line leaders in spite of three rounds of peace talks between the union level peace making group and the KIO,” said an editorial in the New Light of Myanmar.
The government’s frustration with the talks slow pace has surfaced after three-rounds of peace talks in Ruili, China, that failed to make substantial progress, with the two sides differing over procedures and process.
Earlier, KIO Brigadier General Gun Maw, the KIO second commander-in-chief, told Mizzima that it prefers its own three-step process, rather than the process proposed by President Thein Sein.
“We submitted a proposal in January. We were prepared to discuss things based on that proposal,” he said.
The KIO proposal said the first step would be an agreement on the distribution of troops and their locations; second would be an all-inclusive conference similar to the Panglong conference, to include all ethnic leaders and the government, to solve long-standing political disagreements; and the final stage would be to implement the agreement in whatever form is appropriate. Armed clashes between the KIO and government are continuing as the talks make little progress.
Tens of thousands of refugees reamin at risk in the area. The U.N. is working to get greater access to the area and has called for a stronger international effort to provide relief supplies.
In the third round of peace talks which lasted from March 8 to 10, the two sides agreed on five points, including continued political dialogue, building confidence, a standdown of the armies, and coordination greater coordination to avoid armed clashes.
So far, the government has had success in achieving peace breakthroughs with 12 ethnic armed groups that have signed preliminary peace agreement at the state or central level.
The Karen National Union (KNU) and the government on April 6 reached a broad agreement in Naypyitaw, ending decades of fighting, and the KNU has since opened liaison offices in Kyaukkyi, Bago region, and Myeik, Tanintharyi region.