By NANG MYA NADI
Representatives of the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) have agreed to a round of talks with regard to recurring military clashes in Hpakant and Tanai townships in Kachin State.
Sant Aung, an ethnic Kachin peace mediator, told DVB on Thursday that a so-called Conflict Negotiation Commission (CNC), made up of five delegates from both sides, will sit for talks within the next few days.
The move comes after four clashes were reported to have occurred between the Burmese army and the Kachin rebels in Hpakant’s Kansee and Tanai’s Shwemaw areas in the past week.
“The fighting in Hpakant and Tanai necessitated the commission which will hold the negotiations,” said Sant Aung. “As the KIO delegates will have no free time in the next month, the meeting should take place around 25 or 26 April at the KIA [Kachin Independent Army]’s liaison office in Myitkyina.”
The CNC, formed under a preliminary agreement between the government’s Union Peace-Making Work Committee and the KIO in October 2013, was originally supposed to hold monthly meetings starting in October 2014, but those were suspended following a Burmese artillery attack on a Kachin training camp that killed 23 cadets.
The commission finally met for the first time on 6 April 2015 when they discussed the resumption of regular talks, agreeing to meetings every two months.
Expected KIO delegates at the upcoming round of talks include: Col. Zau Tawng, Col. Khun Nawng, Col. Nawli, Maj. Tein Pun and Khonja Khum, while their government counterparts will likely comprise: Border and Security Affairs Minister Col. Than Aung, the deputy-commander of the Burmese army’s Northern Regional Military Command, and three senior administrative or police officials.