KIO leader joined unusual meeting

Naw Seng / March 2, 2020

The Chairman of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) General N’ban La appeared at the meeting hosted by the ethnic-armed organizations (EAO), preparing for the implementation of upcoming the fourth 21st century Panglong conference.

The EAO’s meeting was held at the ballroom of the Holiday Inn in Chiang Mai, Thailand on February 28-29, signing the basic-principles of federalism for the country by all the groups leaders including General N’ban La, according the social media page of Col. Sai Ngan, a secretary of Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA).

A pictures taken from the meeting revealed that KIO leader was signing the agreement together with the (RCSS/SSA) leader Lt. General Yawk Serk and the Karen National Union leader General Mutu Sae Poe. The meeting was attended by 12 ethnic-armed organizations, most of them are signatory of Burmese government’s sponsored Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

A Kachin community leader, who is in condition of anonymity, from North America said, General N’ban La really want to sign at least bilateral ceasefire agreement with Burma Army. However, some KIO leaders disagree on the General La’s intention as well as the Kachin community leaders always suggest KIO leaders to reach a tangible deal before entering into any agreement with Burma Army, he added.

Burma Army, on the other hand, is very reluctant to sign any deal with KIO and allies, a community leader believes. General La also mentioned during one of the meeting in Laiza, saying KIO could reach a ceasefire deal with Burma Army in 2020.

KIO is not a signatory of NCA and active in frequent clashes with Burma Army. The organization is also a member of Northern Alliance which consists of Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta-ang National Liberation Front (TNLA). All these organizations are non-signatory of NCA and also allied with the biggest ethnic-armed organization United Wa State Army (UWSA) under the banner of Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC).

The NCA’s signatory EAOs reached a ceasefire deal with Burma Army since 2015. However, KNU and RCSS/SSA have engaged frequent skirmishes with Burma Army.

Naw Seng is the founder and editor of The Kachin Post.