Burmese armed forces on Kachin’s frontlines was the most pressing issue discussed during a closed-meeting between the new government peace negotiating team and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), according to KIO officials.
The informal meeting, led by KIO’s Vice Chief of Staff Brig-Gen Gun Maw and Burmese peace negotiating team, led by Minister of Railways Aung Min, took place in the morning, in Mai Ja Yang - the second largest town under KIO-controlled town in Bhamo (Manmaw) district, Kachin state.
Although Aung Min was leading the informal talk, Aung Thaung is now the head of the new peace negotiating team.
Aung Min was replaced after failing to strike a ceasefire with the KIO.
In a letter sent to President Thein Sein, Aung Min expressed his full commitment to achieving a new peace agreement with the KIO, according to sources at the meeting.
The KIO repeated their previous demands to the government for the full withdrawal of all Burmese armed forces in KIO territories; this included both Kachin and Northern Shan state.
The KIO told the peace negotiating team peace talks with the government will only be considered after Burmese armed forces withdraw from the frontlines. A new ceasefire, like the previous one in 1994, is not necessary. If the government troops withdraw the conflict will end, said KIO officials.
Aung Min, vice president of newly formed union level peace negotiation committee, has reached peace agreements with five ethnic armed groups, Chin, Karen, Shan, Mon and Karenni.
Both the government and KIO officials agreed to meet again before the end of this month.
The KIO, the largest non-ceasefire ethnic group in Burma, wants a political resolution and not another ceasefire for the conflict which began five decades.
Four previous political negotiations between the government peace negotiating team and KIO, in Ruili (Shweli), China, have failed to bear any fruit.