After four days of an emergency meeting of their senior leaders the Karen National Union has formed a seven member ‘Peace Committee’ to enter into peace talks with the Burma government.
The meeting held from 8 to 11 November was attended by members of the KNU central executive committees, central standing committees, and representatives from seven KNLA Brigades and seven Districts of Karen State.
At the time of writing the KNU had just reached their decision to form a peace committee, all details from the meeting have yet to be disclosed.
However, a member of the KNU who spoke to Karen News said that the KNU will go accordingly to decisions made at their 14th Congress in 2008 — to solve political problems by political means taking the process step-by-step. The KNU source said no dates to meet government representatives have yet been set.
KNU sources say the objective of forming a ‘Peace Committee’ is to have a mechanism in position to be able to effectively engage and deal with issues in regard to any future peace talks.
The ‘Peace Committee’ is composed of senior KNU officials – they are KNU vice-chairman Padoh Saw David Thakabaw as chairperson, KNLA’s G.O.C General Mu Tu Sae Poe as vice chairperson, Padoh Saw David Taw as secretary, KNU general secretary, Naw Zipporah Sein, Head of KNU Health and Welfare, Major Roger Khin, KNU Forestry Minister, Padoh Saw Ah Toe –and KNU Chairman of Pa-an District Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye.
Before the current ‘Peace Committee’ formation, the KNU had held three preliminary discussions with representatives from the Burma government.
On October 10, KNU general secretary, Naw Zipporah Sein, led a KNU delegation to meet for three hours with central parliamentary representatives from Naypyidaw in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot.
The parliamentary central representatives included the Railway Minister U Aung Min, retired Triangle Division Commander, Brigadier General Chit Than, Professors Dr. Tin Maung Than, Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, U Hla Maung Shwe and businessmen U Ngwe Soe, U Tony and U Ko Ko Maung and his wife.
KNU vice chairman Padoh Saw David Thakabaw said that before the October 10 meeting two unauthorized meetings were held with State level representatives that were not legitimate as KNU representatives were not authorized by their Executive Committee.
According to sources on the border, the meeting with the State level representatives was led by Colonel Aung Lwin, Karen State Security and Border Affairs Minister, it included U Saw Poe Ni – member of People Parliament from Pa-an Town, Rev. U Saw Yin Mya Shwe from Kawkareik Town, Abbot Kayma Wudda from Myawaddy Town temple, Anglican Church leader -U Saw Victor, U Tin Aye, U Saw Eh Wah and a range of other religious leaders.