Island in focus: Myanmar armed groups visit Aceh

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The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh | Archipelago | Thu, February 18 2016, 9:11 AM

Representatives of three armed ethnic organizations from Myanmar are visiting Aceh to learn about peace building in the formerly conflict-affected area.

The groups, the Karen National Union (KNU), the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the Karen National Union Peace Council (KNU PC), were represented by 15 officials who met with Aceh Wali Nanggroe traditional leader Malik Mahmud Al-Haytar on Tuesday in Banda Aceh.

The Karen delegation, led by Gen. Isaac Po, were accompanied by staff from the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and the International Center for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS).

During the meeting, Malik told his guests about the importance of dialogue to solve prolonged armed conflict in Indonesia’s westernmost province.

“If you conduct dialogue, you will get support from your people as well as international support,” Malik said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Besides meeting with Malik, the groups were set to discuss peace building with Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah, Banda Aceh Mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Jamal, former combatants of the Aceh Free Movement, members of Aceh’s local political parties, academics and local NGOs.