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The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) has signed a seven-point agreement with the government aimed at reaching a nationwide ceasefire in Burma.
The deal includes provisions to facilitate all-inclusive political dialogue in Burma; form peace monitoring groups to maintain the ceasefire; make resettlement plans for ethnic Karenni IDPs; cooperate on demining activities in Karenni state; provide electricity to households in the region.
The agreement was signed in Karenni state capital Loikaw on Wednesday at the conclusion of two days of negotiations between the ethnic armed group and the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee.
Shwe Myo Thant, general secretary-2 of the KNPP, said, “We reached an agreement on plans to draw up a pilot project for the resettlement of IDPs, cooperation on demining, coordinating a government plan to improve and ensure Karenni people’s livelihoods, and to provide a sufficient supply of electricity in the region.”
He said the meeting on Wednesday also included discussions on both armies reducing their number of troops in Karenni state, and the closing of military outposts that are “deemed burdens to the public”.
Following the third round of union-level talks between the two sides, Hla Maung Shwe of the Myanmar Peace Centre said bilateral relations had vastly improved.
“I think it’s reasonable to say that the Burmese military can meet 70 percent of the KNPP’s demands,” he said. “In my opinion, relations are much improved and the meeting proceeded in a friendly manner.”
The talks were attended by a five-person KNPP delegation led by its vice-chairman, Khu Oo Reh, while the government team was headed by President’s Office Minister Aung Min.
Meanwhile, The Karenni Civil Society Network held a workshop on land and natural resource management on 18-20 October at the Thai-Karenni border where 48 participants from 16 local civil society groups agreed on a framework to pursue a policy related to the extraction of natural resources in Karenni state.
Provisions include a call to Burmese authorities to consult with local communities and provide transparency with regard to any project aimed at extracting natural resources, and a requirement that any company implementing a project in the region be responsible for any impacts and that it contributes to sustainable social development in the affected area.