Representatives of the Burmese government and the four-member Northern Alliance discussed the possibility of releasing detainees held by both sides during a meeting that took place in the Chinese city of Kunming last Sunday.
The proposal, put forward by the alliance of four ethnic armed groups, was part of a discussion aimed at signing a ceasefire agreement between the two sides, according to a source who took part in the December 15 talks.
“The Northern Alliance made a three-point proposal that included the release of all detainees currently being held by both sides, as well as an agreement not to arrest members of either side in the future. If this is successfully discussed, they will sign a ceasefire agreement,” Duwa Lamai Gum Ja, of the Kachin Peace-talk Creation Group, told KNG.
According to Duwa Lamai Gum Ja, this proposal is still under discussion. Both the government and the Northern Alliance agreed to discuss the issue again in January 2020.
The Burma Army arrested four soldiers from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a member of the Northern Alliance, in Kachin State last month during clashes between government forces and KIA troops.
KIA officials said that a Burma Army military column led by Capt. Zaw Oo of Infantry Battalion 4 arrested the four soldiers, including a regional administrative officer and troops belonging to KIA Battalions 26 and 44, in Loi Paw, a village in the Indawgyi region, on November 28.
The Chinese government has facilitated multiple rounds of peace talks between the Burmese government, the Burma Army and the Northern Alliance since last year. The talks have yet to yield a bilateral ceasefire agreement, and clashes between the two sides continue in Kachin and Rakhine states.
The Northern Alliance consists of the KIA, the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.