Business Peace Mediators
All KIO and KNU peace talks with the government have been mediated and facilitated by prominent businessmen who have vested interests in industrial or resource extraction in Myanmar.
Kachin businessman Yup Zau Hkaung of the Jadeland Company is heading a Peace Talk Creation Group along with other Kachin businessmen, Lamai Gum Ja, Hkapara Khun Awng and N’Shen Hsan Awng. The group have been instrumental in brokering talks between the KIO and government. The Peace Talk Creation Group has arranged and provided financial assistance for the meetings. The group also has a 7 member official documentation team.
The Dawei Princess Company is involved in facilitating the peace process between the KNU and Myanmar government. U Ko Ko Maung, the company director, and U Ngwe Soe, managing director, attended all of the peace meetings between the KNU and government. The Dawei Princess Company finances, organizes and even provides travel arrangements for the government peace delegation during the peace talks with the KNU. Karen News also reported that the company paid for the setup and operating costs of the KNU liaison office in Dawei (Tavoy) town. The Dawei Princess Company, also known as Hein Yadana Moe, is a sub-contractor for the $60B Dawei Special Economic Zone that is in part of the KNU’s controlled area.
International mediation for peace talks
The current government peace committee is said to not want third parties involved at this stage of ceasefire talks. However several ethnic groups are insisting that foreign mediators are necessary in ensuring the government keeps to the terms of agreement.
The KNU Gen-Sec. ZIpporah Sein said that though they agree now to proceed with talks, an independent peace facilitator may be needed as the current talks move towards thornier issues, such as the future of the armed Karen forces and greater autonomy in the Karen State.
The KIO on the other hand has been more persistent in its request for foreign mediators. It insists ceasefire negotiations will have to be in a third country under the aegis of foreign mediators.
The latest meeting between the KIO and government peace team in Ruili, on February 4, 2013 was attended by Chinese officials including a representative from the foreign ministry Mr Luo Zhaohui.
On June 16th 2011, shortly after the outbreak of conflict in Kachin state, the KIA press spokesman Henry Branglai told AFP it wanted China to be a “referee” in any potential negotiations. Without the involvement of another country as a witness, as a facilitator… there is no solution,”
In Mid-May 2012, the KIO Central Committee Chairman Zawng Hra sent an open letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calling on the UN to “intervene before the conflict becomes even wider and more complex” and to send observers to monitor fighting with government troops.
After a meeting on 19 April 2012, the UNFC members called for dialogue with the government as a group, but with international observers present as mediators.
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) has specifically called on China (Oct 2011) and Japan (April 2012 to mediate in peace talks.
There have a number of international observers in some of the talks between ethnic militia groups and the government:
|(state level talks) March 7, 2012: U.S. attaché Andrew Webster, Second Secretary of the British Embassy Joe Fisher, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative Hans ten Feld were observers during the talks.
|April, 2012: Kristine Gould (PACRIM Research Associates), Emma Leslie (Center for Peace and Conflict Studies) and US embassy representative Craig Haltmeier.
Second talks: Sept.3, 2012: Three foreign observers were also present Ms. Meghan. Stewart, (Public International Policy Group), Emma Leslie (Center for Peace and Conflict Studies) and US embassy representative Craig Haltmeier.
|(code of conduct meeting) Dec.7, 2012: Kristine Gould (PACRIM Research Associates, USA), Mr. Yohei Sasakawa (Chairman, Nippon Foundation, Japan), Mr. Yiji Mori (Nippon Foundation, Japan), Ms. Suzuka Yoshida (Nippon Foundation, Japan), Charles Petrie (Myanmar Peace Support Initiative)
|February 20, 2013: Mr. Yohei Sasakawa (Chairman, Nippon Foundation, Japan)