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Tatmadaw, KNU pledge to address current tensions

KNU and Tatmadaw representatives sat for a preliminary meeting hosted by the Joint Monitoring Committee in Hpapun, northern Karen State, on 22 March 2018. (PHOTO DVB)

Military tensions between Burmese government forces and the Karen National Union (KNU) will be addressed at talks next week, both sides agreed at a preliminary meeting hosted yesterday by the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) in Hpapun, northern Karen State.

KNU representative Maj-Gen Saw Isaac Poe said, “In an attempt to diffuse tensions, our negotiation team will be prepared for talks with Tatmadaw counterparts in Bago on 29-30 March.”

Isaac Poe said that that a crucial issue to be discussed would be a road construction project the Burmese military is operating between the villages of Lel Mu Plaw and Kay Bu.

“There is a dispute over whether this road construction project should proceed,” he said. “Many local villagers have been compelled to abandon their homes due to the influx of Burmese soldiers in the area.”

Hundreds of villagers staged a protest on 19 March, calling for the Tatmadaw to withdraw its forces, alleging that they had been deployed under the pretext of executing a road construction project in Luthaw, Hpapun district, when in fact their motives were territorial.