By Nang Mya Nadi
The Kachin Independence Army and government forces are engaged in heavy fighting as the group’s political wing, the Kachin Independent Organisation, and the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee held unofficial talks earlier this week.
The KIO’s spokesperson La Nan said the group’s delegation met with government representatives led by the UPWC’s deputy-chairman Railway Minister Aung Min on 19 and 20 in Maijayang in eastern Kachin state.
The group did not disclose what was discussed at the meeting.
The KIO met twice with Kachin state delegations led by Colonel Than Aung and twice with parliamentary negotiators Aung Thaung and held four unofficial talks with Aung Min’s UWPC.
Despite engaging in several rounds of official and unofficial talks, no tangible agreements concerning a new ceasefire have been reached.
In the past year, Aung Min has signed ceasefire deals with several armed ethnic groups including the Karen, Karenni, Shan and Mon.
However, ceasefires don’t necessarily guarantee an end to fighting.
Both the Shan State Army-North and Shan State Army-South have reported that skirmishes have been breaking out between their troops and the Burmese army in Shan state this month.
La Nan said the KIO is demanding that international monitoring groups observe the ceasefire negotiations before a deal is signed.
“In order to reach an agreement, they should withdraw all their forces from our region [first]. And secondly, we need a lot of international monitors to witness an agreement we make so that it would be more solid,” he said.
“International monitors should definitely get involved to make [agreements] solid, otherwise the ceasefire or signed agreement will not last long.”
He said about five clashes took place on 20 June in KIA territory.
Troops from KIA’s brigade-4 opened fire on a police station in Northern Shan State’s Pangsai township on 17 June in response to what they say was the police’s complicity in the drug trade.
June 19 marked the one-year anniversary since the fighting broke out in Kachin state after a 17-year ceasefire agreement fell apart.