Exclusive Interview with KIA Vice-Chief of Staff
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Exclusive Interview with KIA Vice-Chief of Staff

By PATRICK BOEHLER / THE IRRAWADDY Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gen Sumlut Gun Maw, the vice-chief of staff of the Kachin Independence Army, discusses ongoing negotiations with the Burmese government. (Photo: Irrawaddy)
(Page 2 of 2)

So there has been some contact in regards to border stability,
but no other contact apart from that.

Q: What do you expect from the by-elections on April 1?

A: There are changes, but there are no comprehensive changes yet. The changes do not regard the ethnic issues. We can say that no ethnic issues have been solved yet. We have to wait and see.

Q: Do you want the sanctions to be lifted after the by-elections?

A: We think some sanctions might be lifted. It’s not for us to say whether the sanctions should be lifted or not, because we are not the ones who imposed the sanctions. The lifting of the sanctions should come only if it is beneficial to the people of Burma.

Q: Kachin civil society has been campaigning against massive infrastructure projects in Kachin State, such as the Myitsone Dam. Recent reports say that construction has resumed, what is your position on the dam project?

A: We are against the construction of a dam at the Myitsone. Those six smaller dams upstream won’t harm the people but the biggest dam at the confluence can lead to a lot problems.

Q: Will you express your concern over recent reinforcements along the frontlines by the Burmese armed forces at the talks in Ruili?

A: We have already given them a list with the location of their troops which could be problematic at the last meeting in January. We asked for these troops to be moved, but nothing has changed yet. What we are demanding is self-determination for the Kachin people. That’s why we want to know how much President Thein Sein will include this object in his political agenda. We can’t know yet.

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Kyaw Wrote:
Apparently the Government of Theinsein has limited influence over the military. The hostility is high. The Military brasses have only retaliation in their mine. They just do not want to accept the actual situation, the more the push in, the more they suffered. How many young lives will be sacrificed to this unnecessary war. Without the intervention of the powerful third parties, there will have no peace. Kachins will never accept lesser than the Rights promised to them in Panglong. They will never accept to abolish KIA. They have been running Kachin for decades independently without any assistance from the central Government. Their independent status and sovereignty must be respected.

hla myint. Wrote:
KIO should endeavor for comprehensive political settlement, not just signing of

Mc Kap Mangte Wrote:
God Bless KIA and the Kachin People!!! Long live KIA!!!

Maran La Raw, PhD Wrote:
Congrats to Irrawaddy for this interview with Gen. S. Gun Maw. This should go along way to correct the effects of the general modus operandi of the west, especially the US, in pushing President Thein Sein for reform without at the same time telling the international community about the blueprint for reform the opposition has been offering since 1994. The effect is to cast the UNFC political position as faceless and voiceless in the west. The UNFC holds the key to peace and stability in the country. I hope this begins to correct the grievous error.

Mawshe Wrote:
Why would Burmese government want to build 7 huge dams including the Myitsone Dam without consulting people in Kachin State? Why would Naypyidaw decide such important issues in Kachin State without considering Kachin people’s view? These are totally unacceptable. That is why we need a federal democratic system with autonomous states, to have a say. I highly respect Gen Sumlut Gun Maw and KIO. I think they are pushing Burmese dictators to bring about a genuine change for everlasting peace. We don’t need ceasefire only; we need a real political solution and federal system which can guarantee people in Kachin State have a real say in politics.

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