Myanmar reiterates it opens door of peace to dissidents

15:32, June 18, 2011      

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Myanmar official media Saturday said the government would open door of peace to dissidents, referring to a recent armed clashes between the government forces and the ethnic armed group of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) based in northernmost Kachin state bordering China.

The New Light of Myanmar cited the attitude of the government as saying that "It would open the door of peace to welcome those who are holding different views if they wish to cooperate with the government in mutually concerned cases for the interest of the nation and the people and run for election in compliance with democratic practice to justly gain power".

"The only objective of the Tatmadaw (armed forces) in launching attacks on KIA is just to protect its members and an important hydropower project of the nation without even a single intention of aggression and oppression," clarified the official report.

The report added the government forces had to inevitably attack the KIA just to rescue its officers detained by the KIA and to protect the high-cost Tarpein hydropower project being implemented with the Chinese side.

According to the report, in mid-April, the KIA made threats to stop quarry work on the east bank of the Malikha river, entering Lahsa hydropower project site and threatening Chinese staff to move to the west bank of the river within two days and to withdraw the extended camps from the east bank as soon as possible.

On June 8, two government military officers, who went to KIA camp for negotiation, were detained by the KIA which also opened fire at the government forces who were marching to the Tarpein hydropower project site.

After heavy weapon fire exchange, the two military officers were rescued the next day, the report said, adding that although the government forces informed the KIA to withdraw from its camp near the power project site within two days, the KIA rejected to follow by launching heavy weapon fire at the plant from its Dunbon outpost and blowing up pylons carrying cables connecting the plant and the Bhamo district.

The clashes led to the occupation of the camp by the government forces on June 12.

As a follow-up of the fighting between the two sides, from June 14 to 16, the KIA blew up 25 bridges including bailey, concrete and wooden ones which are key transportation route to Kachin state, the report disclosed.

The Tarpein hydropower project is a heavily-invested joint venture project between Myanmar's Ministry of Electric Power-1 and Datang (Yunnan) United Hydropower Developing Company of China, according to the report.

Of the two-phase 400-megawatt project, the first phase of the 240-megawatt (mw) Tarpein-1 hydropower plant comprising four 60-mw generators has been completed yielding power at 1,065 million kilowatt-hours yearly. The remaining 160-megawatt plant project is underway.

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