The head of Burma’s military met with members of the Karen armed resistance in the country’s capital to discuss how the ceasefire between the two could be progressed.
The meeting is seen by ethnic leaders as a move by the government to acknowledge the Karen National Union (KNU) as a necessary component in the country’s political future.
The delegation met with members of Burma’s government and the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, General Min Aung Hlaing to discuss how to the finalize a cease-fire code-of-conduct, a nationwide cease-fire agreement and a political frame work for future peace talks.
The KNU’s general secretary, P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, spoke to Karen News about the high level talks.
“We discussed with how the [Burma] army conducts itself is important for the cease-fire and future peace building.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win said General Min Aung Hlaing was cautious but showed a willingness to work towards peace.
“He [General Min Aung Hlaing] said he is determine to achieve peace, but he stressed to us that the process needs to take it a step-by-step. When one step is stable, we will move to the next stage.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win said the KNU made its position clear to the General and the government members.
“We explained our position that to solve the political problem it has to be by political means and in a peaceful way – the cease-fire is important to acheiving.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win said despite the talks being informal and not official there was a lot of common ground at the meeting.
“For the cease-fire to be stable its need a code-of-conduct and to be monitored. There was no official agreement at our meeting, but we got to put our position and perspectives. The general accepted it and understood it.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win also said there was a discussion about a nationwide cease-fire and a political framework for future peace talks.
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win said.
“We informed the government delegates that we have finalized our cease-fire code-of-conduct and we will present it at the next meeting with the government.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo said the KNU needed to discuss with its members the proposed nationwide ceasefire.
“We have to discuss within our organization first. A [nationwide] cease-fire is important in the first step for national peace building. But a cease-fire needs agreement to make it stable. All involved parties need to sign, such as the ethnic armed groups, government, the parliaments and government leaders in charge of the country’s in security sectors.”
P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo indicated that there is still much to be achieved before a nationwide ceasefire is a reality.
“For the political dialogue to happen it needs more meetings and discussion and to plan and map out a framework. The KNU needs to discuss this, as do the other ethnic groups, the government, and the army – it needs to be inclusive to all for the peace building process.”
Among the KNU’s delegation, that was led by its Chairman, General Mutu Say Po, was its army chief, General Jonny, general secretary and P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win. KNU made their trip during Septembber 24 to 29, and held meeting with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and with U Aung Min, Minister of the President’s Office and other government ministers.
After six decades of fighting, the KNU agreed to a cease-fire with the government in January 2012.