Thursday January 3, 2013
UN concerned by Myanmar air strikes
UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the Myanmar army to stop air raids against ethnic rebels in Kachin state, and seek a fair and lasting solution to the conflict.
Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said the UN chief "has taken serious note of the most recent reports indicating air strikes against targets in Kachin state."
"While details of these reports are still emerging and being closely followed, the Secretary-General calls upon the Myanmar authorities to desist from any action that could endanger the lives of civilians living in the area or further intensify the conflict in the region," Nesirky added.
Fighting between the country's military, known as the 'Tatmadaw', and the armed wing of the KIO (Kachin Independence Organisation) has worsened in recent days as the army battled to regain one of its bases, a government negotiator involved in peace efforts told AFP in Myanmar.
"We heard the military used helicopters and training jets while trying to get their camp back," said Hla Maung Shwe, who is also an adviser to President Thein Sein.
The escalation has raised doubts over the country's reform drive.
Ban "urges all concerned parties to work toward political reconciliation in order to build the basis for a fair and durable outcome for all," Nesirky said.
About 75,000 civilians have been deplaced since June 2011, when a 17-year ceasefire between the government and Kachin rebels broke down. - AFP