September 25, 2017

Peace possible, but only if we want it: State Counsellor

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, centre, meets with inhabitants of an IDP camp outside of Myitkyina, Kachin State yesterday. Photo: MNA

In her continuing quest for peace, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday visited Myitkyina in Kachin State, one of the most war-torn regions in the country.
During her discussions with Kachin elders, she gave honest and heartfelt entreaties to the Kachin people to unite for peace. Kachin State has endured ethnic conflicts for decades. The main ethnic armed group in the region, KIA, has steadfastly refused to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) nor participate in peace talks.
“If we really want it, peace can be surely had”, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said. “The 21st Century Panglong Conference is an important political dialogue for building a Federal Democratic Union. I want all to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement. At the time when the NCA was discussed, the NLD did not take part in it. Yet, after taking office of the government, the government must take responsibility. In studying the NCA, it can be found that it has the guarantees of political dialogues and monitoring ceasefire, plus it guarantees amending the Constitution. The NCA and the 21st Century Panglong Conference is the way that will not harm the country and its people. The NCA is not a goal. It is only a step that national ethnic nationalities have longed for. I want you to take part in the conference for making decisions. Success of the NCA is the success for gaining peace, and it is like making firm decisions. to build the Federal Democratic Union, together. Please tell me openly as to which kinds of difficulties you have for signing the NCA and attending the 21st Century Panglong Conference. I had never said I would fulfil all your needs. I cannot give up the trust of the public. But I can give solemn promises I will perform as much as I can, everything I can do for you. Thus, all need to discuss openly in this discussion.”
Those present at the meeting disclosed their concerns — armed conflicts between the Tatmadaw and the KIA, the increasing amount of displaced people as a result, urgent needs for food and humanitarian aid, amending the Constitution that will help to build a genuine federal union in accord with 1947 Panglong Agreement, an effective anti-drug campaign, the evil effect of the armed conflicts, freedom of worship and eradication of religious discrimination, and the peace process as it concerns the participation of Kachin people. The State Counsellor gave her advice about the concerns of the people.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, centre, poses for a photo with two women who had a photo taken with Bogyoke Aung San, the father of State Counsellor, many years ago. Photo: IPRD

Fighting between the KIA and the Tatmadaw resumed in June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire collapsed. The ensuing violence has resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of over 100,000 civilians.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met separately with leaders of Kachin societies, executive committee members for dialogues for peace, and refugees at the Hsatcho Camp for displaced people, the KBC Minar Camp for displaced people and Lansae flood rescue camp.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi boarded a plane in Nay Pyi Taw for Myitkyina early yesterday morning together with Union Ministers Lt-General Kyaw Swe, Lt-General Ye Aung, Dr Win Myat Aye, Dr Tin Myo Win, Deputy Minister U Min Thu and responsible officials.
Afterward, the State Counsellor held discussions with leaders from Kachin social societies at the Palm Springs Hotel in Myitkyina and announced that there were two reasons for her visit.
“First, it is necessary to give assistance to those present at the camps for displaced people and another is matters for peace. Myanmar gained its independence nearly seven decades ago. The period is not a long period in terms of history. Due to many reasons, progress can be said to be little in the attempts for the peace in this 70 years period. Though our government has been in office for only one year, we have been continuously trying to gain progress. Christianity or Buddhism is based on Metta, the loving kindness. In Christianity, it is said that there is no fear in love. In Buddhism, Metta can extinguish fire, which can cause anger.
Present at the meeting were dignitaries and leaders from Evangelist Church, Salawshaung of the Free National Christian organisation, U Lonjon Too Rau, Myitkyina Christian Council, Kachin Advisory Committee, Zaiwa tradition committee, Lhovo tradition committee, Bhamo Tradition committee, literary development literature and culture committee ( Namphatkar), PCG (Peace Creation Group).
After the meeting, the State Counsellor and Kachin Societies’ leaders posed for documentary photos, followed by photos of State Counsellor and Daw Magaung Khawnraw and Daw Rwenaung, two women who had posed for pictures many years ago with the State Counsellor’s father, Bogyoke Aung San.—Myanmar News Agency

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