Friday, September 22, 2017

Myanmar's parliament approves motion for online peace discussions

The Pyithu Hluttaw last week approved a proposal for the government and Kachin Independence Organisation to pursue peace negotiations over the internet, although representatives concede neither side is likely to take up the suggestion.

The interim proposal was introduced by U Thein Zaw, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Myitkyina and vice chairman of the Ethnic Affairs and Domestic Peace Making Committee, on January 11.

“This armed conflict in Kachin State cannot be solved without a negotiation process. But it’s difficult to discuss for the representatives of the peace-making groups and KIO to discuss face to face because of the fighting that is currently happening in Kachin State,” said U Thein Zaw, a former minister for communications, posts and telegraphs in the military government.

“Today, representatives from both sides can negotiate their policies, attitudes and requirements through the use of updated technology, such as email and electronic communication … and then they can transparently announce and give information to the public about what they are doing.

“We urge [both sides] to build genuine peace through these methods, taking into account the desire of the public to slow down the fighting. So we propose that the speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw urges the relevant officials from both sides” to take up the proposal.

The proposal was approved by representatives without any objection.

But representatives also said they were skeptical about whether either side would agree to online negotiations.

“This proposal is … one way to discuss [peace] while fighting has escalated. But there are some other ways that can also be used effectively to solve the conflict,” said U Khine Maung Yi, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Ahlone in Yangon Region.

“Although the people are willing to get peace, both armies seem to be choosing the military option. Under these circumstances, central-level peace talks should be held in a neutral third country.” – Translated by Win Thaw Tar