US ambassador and KNU discuss development, peace

The US ambassador to Myanmar met with the Karen National Union on July 21 to get input about supporting local health and education projects in a bid to spur peace through development, according to a KNU official present at the gathering.

The meeting at the KNU’s liaison office in the Kayin (Karen) State capital lasted over an hour.

“The ambassador himself came to discuss about the plan to assist the public in peace-related development programs. He came to ask us our view on assisting in education and health issues. Besides these issues, we also talked about peace,” said P’doh Saw Taw Ni, head of the KNU’s foreign affairs department.

Ambassador Scot Marciel’s five-person delegation met with Major General Saw Isaac Poe, quartermaster-general of the KNU’s armed wing the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), P’doh Saw Taw Ni and the head of the KNU’s Hpa-an liaison office.

“We discussed the need to review the weaknesses and deviations from the path in each step during the implementation of the NCA [nationwide ceasefire agreement] after the new government came into power. We expressed our view on the need for the government to take its time and hold more informal talks,” P’doh Saw Taw Ni added.

This was the first meeting between US ambassador Mr Marciel and the KNU.

The US delegation also met with civil society organizations from Kayin State on July 20, according to the Karen Affairs Committee’s secretary Saw Kyaw Swar.

“He [Mr Marciel] believes cooperation between the government and the KNU on healthcare contributes to peace. He said the government and the KNU need to build trust on small matters that can contribute to peace in order to finally achieve peace,” he said.

The delegation led by the US ambassador also met with representatives from the Kayin State government earlier on July 21.

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