Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) says an agreement to begin a political dialogue to solve decades old disagreements can be signed as soon as Burmese government troops withdraw from KIO areas.
A cease-fire agreement was signed in 1994, and there is no need to sign another such agreement, KIO General-Secretary Dr. La Ja said in a press conference on Tuesday in Chiang Mai. “If they withdraw...we can start a political dialogue,” he said.
The KIO and a government union-level peace delegation held preliminary peace talks in January.
Currently, government troops numbering around 1,000 soldiers occupty positions in Momauk sub-township and Daw Phung Yang sub-township, which are controlled by KIO brigades No. 5 and No. 3, respectively, a KIO officer told Mizzima.
“There are a lot of government infantry troops around Laiza, Lajayang, Sadon, Lweje and Zinglum. Brigade No. 99, and battalions from Military Operations Command are active in the areas. In the area controlled by battalions No. 15, 12, 16 and 27 of brigade No. 3, there are at least 600 government soldiers. In the area controlled by Brigade No. 5, there are 400 or 500 government soldiers.”
Meanwhile, a resident in Myitkyina said he saw a convoy of about 500 government soldiers leave Myitkyina heading north along the Myitkyina-Putao Road on Tuesday evening.
The KIO also said government troops are in areas of Brigades No. 4, 3 and 5 in northern Shan State.
Despite the 1994 cease-fire agreement between the KIO and the government, fighting broke out on June 9, 2011, and has flared up intermittently despite an order by President Thein Sein that all offensive government actions cease.
In recent peace negotiations, the Karen National Union, Chin National Front, New Mon State Party, Shan State Army – North, Shan State Army – South and Karen Peace Council have all signed preliminary agreements with the government’s union level peace delegation to obtain cease-fire agreements.