A military ceasefire Code of Conduct was the first and the main issue discussed during the third round of peace-talks held between the Karen National Union and the Burma government at the Zwekabin Hotel in Hpa-an Town, Karen State yesterday.
Both the KNU and government presented their draft Code of Conduct to each other for an in-depth discussion of the terms and definitions used. According to sources attending the talks both sets of delegations carefully scrutinized items such as the names of territory or what was the definition of an internally displaced person. The source said the Code of Conduct would not only be applied to the armed forces of both sides, but would also target citizens.
Discussions about the building of military camps, encroaching on restricted territory and ethical standards for military staff were led by the KNU’s Colonel S’ Sha Tu Gaw, Major Saw Kler Doh and Major Saw Ta M’La Thaw.
Karen News understands discussions also covered military operations and military activity, troop movements, quantities and the transportation of army rations and to initiate better communication with each other in order to build trust between both groups. During the discussion, Nan Say Awa, a Member of Parliament who attended the discussion, brought up the issue of Article 17/1 [illegal organization act] saying people wanted to get rid of the law to which the government, Minister U Aung Min, replied that the law was not applicable in Karen areas anymore.
The government’s main delegates during today’s meeting were, U Soe Thein, a Minister in the President’s office, U Tun Tun Oo, Deputy Chief of Justice (at the Union level), Major General Tin Maung Win, Commander of the South Eastern Command, U Win Tun, the Union Minister of Environment Preservation and Forestry Department and Major General Zaw Win, the Deputy Minister of Union Security and Border Affair Department.
The delegates from both sides raised the of landmine clearance in ceasefire areas – both sides agreed not to use landmines and to work together to de-mine landmines that have already planted.
Both groups agreed to avoid direct or indirect provocative acts and also agreed to stop the abuse of civilians living in the ceasefire territories.
During the first day of discussions delegates from both the KNU and the government verbally agreed on a draft Code of Conduct for both the armed forces and civilians. Discussion on the movement of troops is next on the agenda.
The KNU’s nine members delegation was led by Naw Zipporah Sein, the KNU General Secretary and Colonel S’ Sha Tu Gaw. The KNU has said that the main issues for them are the security of civilians and the movement or relocation of government troops during the third round of ‘peace-talks’.
Apart from the main delegation of the government, U Aung Min and some other Union Ministers, Karen Members Parliament, Saw Tun Aung Myint – Karen Affair Minister of Yangon division, three international and three local observers attended the discussion.