The Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burmese Army continue to draw closer, with the opening of the fourth joint liaison office in Myawaddy, in a ceremony including politicians, political party representatives and members of military groups.
The government Railway Minister Aung Min, who is also the peacemaking committee vice chairman, said the office would allow both groups to coordinate activities, in Saturday’s ceremony.
KNU leader Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye said that talk is easy in the peace-building process, but actions are difficult. He said the KNU would continue to work on the basis of democratic principles, according to an article on the Karen News website.
“I believe that the majority decision is the best,” he said. “It is important to do things according to the majority decision and to do it bravely and firmly. With guidance from the central KNU, we will work toward solving political issues through political means as laid out by the KNU Congress.”
Soe Thein, the NLD chairperson of Myawaddy District, told Karen News: “Our country wants a stop to this civil-war that has been raging since independence. Everyone wants to have peace. I hope everyone will work together toward peace. Our NLD members in Myawaddy District are ready to work together with anyone for the emergence of peace.”
Saw Kyaw Kyaw, a Myawaddy Township resident who attended the ceremony, said he hoped the two sides could achieve long-term peace.
“I hope that the opening of the liaison office will be the beginning of working towards a genuine peace,” he said. “As a civilian, I want to see infrastructure development and better economic opportunities.”
General Mutu Say Poe said the KNU would continue to open liaison offices in other areas.
The Myawaddy Liaison Office will be under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Paw Doh, the commander of the KNLA 101 Battalion, Brigade 7, and Captain La Min, the commander of the KNLA Special Battalion, Brigade 6.
On April 9 and 10, the KNU opened liaison offices in Kyaukgyi Township in Pegu Division and Dawei Township in Tenniserrim Division.
On May 15, the KNU officially opened its third liaison office in Three Pagoda Pass Township in Dooplaya District, which will serve as the branch office for Dooplaya District.
Burmese government representatives also included Khin Ye, the minister of Immigration and Population; Zaw Min, the chief minister of Karen State; Col. Aung Lwin, the minister of Border Security Affairs; Ohn Myint, the chief minister of Mon State; Major General Tin Maung Win, the commander of South Eastern Command and various state ministers.
Representatives from other ethnic armed and political groups included Major Hsan Aung and Major Kyaw Thet of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army KloHtooBaw brigade; Saw Nay Soe Mya of the KNU/KNLA Peace Council; Lieutenant Maung Chit Thu and Major Maw Tho of the Border Guard Force Sub-regional No. 3; government officials from the Myawaddy District; officials from the National League for Democracy; the Plao Swaw Democratic Party; and other political party leaders.
During the opening ceremony, General Mutu Say Poe, the KNLA chief of staff, said the office could build understanding between the two sides and prevent misunderstandings.
KNU representatives included General Mutu Say Poe, General Saw Johnny, the commander of the KNLA 7th brigade; Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye, the KNU district chairman of Hpa-an District; Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, the KNU district chairman of Megui/Tavoy District; Padoh Saw Lay Law Hsaw, the KNU chairman of Nyaunglebin District and other KNLA and KNU officers.