(Mizzima) – The Burmese government has proposed two in-country locations – Myitkyina or Bahmo in Kachin State – for the fourth round of peace talks with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) instead of in China's border town of Ruili, private media reported on Wednesday.
Aung Thaung, the leader of the government’s peace delegation, was quoted by the 7-Day News Journal as saying the change was intended to allow township elders, religious and political leaders, and others to witness the talks.
The KIO rejected the government’s offer on Wednesday, saying that it had lost confidence in the government’s intentions. It said the government appeared to be preparing for an assault on KIO troops, citing a troop build-up and the movement of artillery to front-line locations.
On Wednesday, a bomb exploded in Myitkyina, injuring three persons. It is not known if the bomb had any connection with the on-going peace negotiations.
Earlier this week, an editorial in The Mirror, a state-run newspaper, said “hard-line leaders” of the KIO are to blame for the failure of progress in peace talks.
“Eternal peace in Kachin State is still a pipe dream for the nationalities there due to some hard-line leaders in spite of three rounds of peace talks between the union level peace making group and the KIO,” said the editorial.
The government’s frustration with the talks’ slow pace surfaced after three-rounds of peace talks in Ruili, China, that failed to make substantial progress, with the two sides differing over procedures and process.
The failure to reach a cease-fire and make significant progress in peace negotiations is threatening to put up to 50,000 refugees at even greater risk, observers said.
Meanwhile, a private peace coordination group has asked to meet with President Thein Sein to report to him on the status of peace efforts by the group, according to another report in the news journal.
The group wants to present a report on the current refugee status, especially in light of the coming rainy season and failure of negotiations to make concrete progress.
The four-member peace coordinator group is made up of leading members of an influential business company known as Jadeland.
In the last round of peace talks which ran from March 8 to 10, the two sides agreed to five points which included continued political dialogue, building confidence, a wind down of military build-ups and coordination of military movements on both sides.