By Nay Thwin
Minister from the President’s Office Aung Min, along with a group of government negotiators, met with representatives from several exile groups in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai on 10 November.
During talks with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the minister and his Internal Peace Making Work Committee delegation discussed issues that will be addressed during the upcoming union-level talks with the group.
The next round of union-level negotiations is tipped to commence in early 2013.
“We agreed on reviewing the 14 points in the upcoming talks and to discuss a code of conduct for troops on both side as well as for transparency regarding military training camps and dam projects,” said San Myint Aung, secretary-2 of the KNPP.
“Since the construction of dams are large projects, we wanted to ensure transparency by allowing civil society groups to observe the sites.”
During the latest round of talks in June, both sides agreed to set up KNPP liaison offices in Loikaw, Hpasaung and Shataw townships but failed to clarify demarcation lines in the eastern state.
“The peace process is continuing but we wouldn’t say there’s peace yet – currently we are maintaining the ceasefire,” said San Myint Aung.
Following the talks with the KNPP, the minister’s delegation met with representatives from the Democratic Party for New Society (DPNS) and discussed the group’s potential return to Burma and the country’s political scene.
“We would like an official endorsement from the government for our return and the minister agreed to follow up with it. We are looking to send a delegation inside the country for discussion with our partners there and for fact finding,” said the DPNS’s chairman Aung Moe Zaw, adding that the delegation would make the trip in December.
The DPNS was founded in 1988 by university students and had the second largest member base after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. Many of the members were high school and university students who went into exile in 1991.
The party is currently listed as an unlawful association in Burma.
“We want to get prepared for our potential return to Burma and its politics as a legitimate party,” said Aung Moe Zaw.
He said the group hopes to be back and settled in Burma before the end of next year.
The minister’s delegation also met with members from the All-Burmese Students Democratic Front last Friday and agreed to allow their delegation to visit Burma.