A new peace negotiating team, led by Burmese Railways Minister Aung Min, arrived at Mai Ja Yang, the second largest town under Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin state, at 3 pm today, according to Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) officials.
The government peace negotiating team received a warm welcome from a KIA security team who escorted them from the government-controlled Loije, Bhamo (or Manmaw) district, in southeastern Kachin state to Mai Ja Yang, a KIA officer told the Kachin News Group (KNG).
The KIO delegation, which included Vice Chief of Staff Brig-Gen Gun Maw, will be led by General Secretary Dr. Laja. He will meet with U Aung Min tomorrow.
The meeting, the first between the KIO and government peace negotiating team in two-months, is intended to be a discussion rather than political negotiations, said a high ranking KIO officer in Mai Ja Yang.
The previous meeting with government peace negotiating team led by U Aung Thaung, in Ruili (or Shweli), in China’s southwest Yunnan province, failed to achieve any lasting results.
U Aung Thaung, who is thought be a hardliner, was not included in the new peace negotiating team.
The peace talks resumed following a meeting between U Aung Min and two KIO officers, Dr. Laja and Brig-Gen Gun Maw in the Thai city Chiang Rai, on May 21.
The government wants to sign a ceasefire with the KIO before they will discuss political solutions to the conflict, which started on June 9, after they ended a 17-year ceasefire. There are an estimated 75,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), most living in KIO-controlled territories.
The KIO has repeatedly stated they will not sign a ceasefire until government’s troops withdraw from the frontlines.
During the meeting, fighting has temporarily stopped for two days around the 3rd Brigade, where discussions are taking place.
KIO’s chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra sent a letter to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon urging the UN to intervene to help negotiate a solution Kachin conflict and support humanitarian aid to Kachin IDPs, on May 15.