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The third round of talks between Karen National Union officials and a union peace delegation has been tentatively cancelled by the government.
The meeting was scheduled to take place from 27 to 29 August in Karen state’s capital Pa-an, but the KNU claims the talks were pushed back by an unilateral decision made by the government.
“No official reason has been given to us. [They] only said they are not free and that they have other important matters and that the meeting on 27 [August] is not possible anymore. No other precise official notification was given,” said KNU spokesperson Naw May Oo.
“The postponement is not the problem, but the way it was postponed, whether it is done in consultation or unilaterally, is to be commented upon.”
The meeting has been pushed back to 8 September, but the KNU has yet to officially announce whether they will be able to attend the talks on this date.
“I am mainly concerned about the trust of the public. I am concerned as to how much the public believes in the peace process and how [they] will understand the postponement,” said Naw May Oo.
“The whole Karen nation is hopeful in the whole process. I regard [postponing] as an act [meant] to agitate the public’s trust.”
The KNU, after 60 years of armed struggle, signed a preliminary ceasefire with the government in early January.
After signing a raft of ceasefire deals earlier in the year with armed ethnic groups across the country, Burmese troops continue to engage in brief skirmishes with several rebel armies, which observers say is a sign that the military isn’t always willing to live up to the agreements brokered by union politicians.
With talks between armies actively fighting the government stagnating, armed groups, including the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, are openly vocalizing their weariness of the ongoing peace process.