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The vice chief of staff of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Gen. Gun Maw, says that the peace process has stalled due to the Burmese government’s disingenuous tactics.
He pointed to U-turns in talks about disarmament and the recent shelling of a Kachin training camp near Laiza where 23 cadets were killed.
“In August, we discussed DDR [Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration] and a programme for reunification with regard to security,” he told DVB in an exclusive interview on Saturday. “We agreed that [disarmament] should only be implemented in the final stage, based on results from the political dialogue.
“However, a month later, the government delegation suggested such a programme could only be implemented within 90 days after signing a nationwide ceasefire.
“This has become a major obstacle in the peace process.”
The respected Kachin leader went on to say that in order for the peace process to move ahead, all sides “need to engage in the process with genuine will”. In doing so, he said, trust is built through dialogue.
Incidents such as the deadly shelling of the training camp on 19 November, “seriously erode that trust”, he said. “Moreover, there is the question of whether the [government side] is being honest with regard to these incidents,” Gun Maw continued.
“There is frequently a gap between the information we provide to [government chief negotiator] U Aung Min and how the government announces it.
“It is questionable whether they are telling the truth,” he concluded. “The public and the international community may not know this, but ultimately, trust-building is difficult when dealing with a government that does not speak the truth.”
Gun Maw’s comments come just days after one of his ethnic colleagues, Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) Vice-chairman Nai Hongsa, said it would now be “completely impossible” to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement by the end of this year following the Burmese army’s assault on the boot camp, which was located near Laiza, headquarters of the KIA.