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Second-round KNU peace talks begin

(Mizzima) – Cease-fire monitoring rules and liaison offices were discussed during the opening day of the second round of peace talks between the Karen National Union and Burmese government on Wednesday in Pa-An, the capital of Karen State.

The KNU team included Naw Zipporah Sein, the KNU general-secretary; Saw Htoo Htoo Lay, secretary of Military Affairs Committee; and General Mutu Sae Poe.

The union government team was led by Railways Minister Aung Min,’ Immigration and Population Minister Khin Yi, and General Tin Maung Win of the Southeastern Command.

The KNU team plans to meet Karen civil society organizations and social, religious and political leaders in Pa-An before departing for Rangoon on Thursday.  The KNU delegation will continue the talks with the government on Friday at the Union level.

The KNU talks are the first to be held since the National League for Democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi won 43 seats in by-elections on Sunday, giving it a voice in Parliament for the first time.
Suu Kyi democracy movement is loosely allied with most of the ethnic minority groups, who, like her party, also faced repression under the previous military regime.

Preliminary cease-fire pacts have been reached in recent months between the government and groups representing the Mon, Shan, Chin, Wa and Kokang minorities.

Most of the groups, however, insist that a political settlement giving them more autonomy is necessary to ensure lasting peace.

The Kachin Independence Organization in northern Burma, is still engaged in sporadic fighting with the government.

"The purpose of these meetings is to engage all levels of society in the process of achieving peace in a nation that has been in armed conflict for several decades," said a KNU statement. "The KNU believes that lasting peace should be achieved through the combined effort of all people who are directly and indirectly affected by the coming political change."

The statement said the talks would focus on details of a cease-fire between the KNU and the government, the gradual extension of a cease-fire to cover the entire country, civilian safety, trust-building and safeguarding human rights.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 April 2012 16:14 )  

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