Sunday, January 06, 2013

Myanmar gov't seeks guarantee for lasting peace with KNU

Myanmar President U Thein Sein met the newly-elected leadership of the ethnic Kayin National Union ( KNU) in Nay Pyi Taw Saturday to seek guarantee for lasting peace with the group.

KNU, re-elected with General Mutu Say Poe as its new chairman, has reached a 13-point peace agreement with the central government in April 2012.

U Thein Sein reiterated the government's commitment to bringing about lasting peace during his term of office, called for cooperation on common ground for granting equal constitutional rights to all nationalities despite political differences and stressed  the need to grasp the chance to build up a society  where eternal peace prevails.

Mutu also expressed KNU's strong desire to build peace on ceasefire and negotiation, guaranteeing that  KNU has no plan to reverse.

Mutu also revealed KNU's intention to help bring peace to conflict-prone northernmost Kachin state where a stand-off between the government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continued.

On the occasion of the second meeting between the president and the KNU leadership, the KNU side proposed continuation of peace talks, ceasefire, opening of KNU liaison offices and implementation of regional development tasks.

U Thein Sein agreed that the KNU discussions were commensurate with the reality and envisaged the future plan, promising to meet the unavoidable challenges with patience and tolerance.

With common belief in safeguarding sovereignty and striving for peace and stability, it would not be difficult to undertake the remaining work but need time, Thein Sein said.

Calling for an end to ethnic rebellion through joint efforts, Thein Sein said negotiations are underway at different levels, adding that the parliament, composed of representatives of all nationalities, is the best place for discussions in the final stage of political negotiation.

Following the April 2012 successful peace talks with the central government in Yangon, the KNU opened liaison offices in  Kyaukkyi in Bago region and Myeik in  Taninthayi region to facilitate links with the government.

The 13 principled points reached at central-level peace talks in Yangon  cover progressive realization of nationwide ceasefire, especially in ethnic-residing regions, laying down of code of conduct with regard to ceasefire to guarantee security for civilian population and monitoring peace process in three phases -- local monitoring, international monitoring and open monitoring as well as release of Kayin political prisoners.

Other points include resettlement of homeless Kayin nationalities with guarantee of food security and livelihood security and the implementation of these programs be granted inclusive participation with transparency and accountability.

More points were agreed on granting citizenship to displaced Kayin nationalities, rule of law and sustainable development.

The meeting between U Thein Sein and the KNU after the talks was the first between the head of the government and an anti- government ethnic armed group.

The KNU delegation also met for the first time with leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and parliament member Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.

KNU, a major anti-government ethnic armed group in Myanmar's Kayin state, has fought the government for over six decades since Myanmar's independence for self-administration.

So far since the president's peace offer was extended in August 2011, 10 armed groups out of 11 have signed preliminary peace agreements with the government at state or central level.

However, peace talks with the KIA remained deadlocked so far.-The Philippine Star (January 06, 2013 1:00PM)

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