A new meeting between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and government peace team has been postponed until both sides can agree on a suitable location.
According to KIO Deputy Secretary 2 Lah Na, they suggested meeting in Ruili (Shweli) in Yunnan, China but the peace team wants it to be in a government controlled area in Burma.
“If they (Government) agree to a meeting at a location proposed by the KIO, we can set the date. But we refuse to meet in Bhamo (Manmaw) or Muse because it’s just not a good idea. We suggested Prang Ngawn but they said no. It’s our policy to have strict rules about where our leaders meet with the Burmese government,” said Lah Na.
Some of the locations the government peace team suggested have been recently used by the Burmese military to conduct offensives against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). During previous meetings with the government peace team, Burmese military attacked KIA positions.
“They proposed meeting us in Bhamo (Manmaw), an area under their control, and also where they have launched offensives against the KIA. It’s not safe to meet there, they may have a plan. They have reinforced their troops in the area for more offensives against the KIA. It’s not good to meet in Muse because nearly all of the soldiers they bring from Mandalay are stationed there. The soldiers have continued to enter areas controlled by the KIA’s Brigade 4 and Brigade 3,” said Lah Nan.
At night, the government has been sending troops into KIA-controlled territories for clandestine military operations. In the daytime the soldiers change into civilian clothing attempting to blend into the community.
In July, there were at least 96 clashes between the KIA and Burmese military.
On July 17, the KIO sent another proposal to the government peace team to meet in Ruili (Shweli).
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