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Minister hints political prisoners released on Jan. 4 and Feb. 12

(Mizzima) – A top Burmese peacemaking official has told a Mon peace delegation that political prisoners could be released in January and February.

The government’s Union-level peacemaking delegation led by Aung Min and the New Mon State Party delegation led by Nai Hong Sar during a negotiating session in Sangkhlaburi District in Kanchanapuri Province on Thursday, December 22, 2011. The NMSP delegation is wearing red and white shirts. Photo: MizzimaNai Hong Sar, the leader of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), said on Thursday he told the Burmese government peace delegation a nationwide cease-fire and the release all political prisoners was needed to help solve ethnic issues.

President Thein Sein’s special peacemaking representative Minister Aung Min told Mon delegates the government had a plan to release political prisoners and asked them to wait until Independence Day on January 4 and Union Day on February 12, said Nai Hong Sar.

The Mon peace delegation met the government’s Union-level peacemaking delegation for preliminary talks in Sangkhlaburi District in Kanchanapuri on Thursday.

In the meeting, the Mon urged the government to stop all military offensives in Kachin State, to allow people to study the Mon language and literature, and to make the Mon language the official language of the state.

After the meeting, Aung Min said, “I’m 100 percent satisfied with the meeting because the ethnic people trust us like we trust the ethnic people.”

The government delegation said there were three stages to a lasting peace: first, to stop fighting; second, to hold a political dialogue with all ethnic groups; and third, to put forward the agreements [reached in the peace talks] to the Parliament, and finally to amend the Constitution.

Delegates also discussed opening liaison offices and cooperating in undertaking business and development projects in Mon state. The talks included an agreement that each side would inform the other side in advance if one side wanted to enter the other’s control area with weapons.

The government delegation offered to continue peace talks in January. The Mon said they would take the offer to the NMSP’s ongoing party conference now underway and reply later. The eighth party conference of NMSP started on Wednesday at Ye Chaung Phya in Mon State. It will last three months.

The government’s eight-member delegation was led by Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min. Nai Hong Sar led the nine-member NMSP delegation. The meeting lasted two hours.

On October 6, the NMSP met with a government delegation led by the Mon State Minister for Security and Border Affairs, Colonel Htay Myint Aung, at the compound of government Infantry Unit No. 61 in Ye Township. On November 13 and 14, it met with a peace delegation led by influential Buddhist Abbot Sayadaw Bhaddanta Kaytumarlar of Kawpalai village in Kyaikmayaw Township at NMSP headquarters.

A flurry of meetings with ethnic armed groups has unfolded in the past two months. The government has signed cease-fire agreements with four groups: United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), the Kloh Htoo Hpaw armed group, and the SSA-South.

According to information minister Kyaw Hsan, five other groups have agreed in principle to conclude cease-fire agreements: Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Chin National Front (CNF), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and SSA-North.

The government has also asked the Kachin Independence Army to participate in another round of peace talks.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 December 2011 23:18 )  

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