Friday, April 6th, 2012
By Shwe Aung
The Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) has agreed to a five-point agreement with government negotiators during their first round of peace talks, as the Karen National Union (KNU) met with officials in Rangoon.
“This is an initial agreement to build peace between the Arakan state’s government and the ALP,” said the group’s joint-general secretary Naing Thukha.
He said the state-level meeting took place in Arakan state’s Sittwe township this week. The negotiations were attended by the group’s delegation led by deputy chairman Khine Soe Naing Aung and their government counterparts led by Arakan State’s Chief Minister Hla Maung Tin.
The two sides agreed to being discussing a truce immediately and will open ALP liaison offices in Platwa and Kyauktaw townships. The two sides will inform each other when travelling outside of one’s own territories when armed, while ALP members will be able to move freely across the country.
The groups plan to hold union-level talks in the near future.
In Rangoon, the KNU kicked off their second round of peace talks with the government.
The KNU delegation led by general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein and general Mutu Saepoe of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) are following up on negotiations that were held in Karen State’s capital Hpa-an earlier this year.
The two sides discussed a nationwide ceasefire and protecting human rights in Karen state.
The KNU has been sporadically fighting with the central government for more than 60 years, but the two sides agreed to a tentative truce in January.
After the country’s successful by-elections, western countries have begun to ease sanctions against Burma. However, selective sanctions may remain until the ongoing conflicts with ethnic groups are unresolved.