Myanmar and Kachin Rebels Sign Preliminary Peace Deal
By William Tucker
Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security
2011 marked the end of a 17 year cease-fire agreement between the Myanmar junta and the Kachin rebels of north Burma. In the two years since the cease fire broke down hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands were displaced by the ensuing battles, but the two warring parties may be on the cusp of a breakthrough towards a peace deal. Though the junta is unlikely to ever agree to all of the terms put forth by the Kachin rebels, both belligerents have agreed to a framework to end the violence and continue on with political dialog – the latter was a vital, albeit missing, component of the original cease-fire. The rebels and the junta met in the Kachin city of Myitkyina and thus far have agreed to an immediate end to all fighting, the creation of a joint committee to monitor the observance of the ceasefire, and an effort to resettle the tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting. Reporting by the BBC suggest that the agreement was based on a seven point deal the parties arrived at in May. This is a start, but only a start. Forcing an end to a long running feud is not an easy thing and will take generous investments beyond time. The situation in Myanmar does carry geopolitical significance. As competition in the Indian Ocean basin increases, Myanmar’s regional position will become a highly sought after asset.
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