September 03, 2016

Reconciliation requires patience, trust and understanding

Tha Sein

The Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong has come to an end at the administrative city of Nay Pyi Taw with the concluding remarks of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who has exhibited her willingness to give peace a chance and made her presence felt in her capacity as a minister as well as a state counsellor.
Although the first ever conference is short on substance and will be just the opening to eternal peace the new government has earned plaudits in its inclusion of ethnic armed groups that did not sign the national ceasefire agreement with the previous government, easing the animosity between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed groups, given their display of smiles and handshakes during the course of the historic event.
On a positive note, there is no doubt that the achievement the new government realised has surprised skeptics, for discussion on politics is done with participants or organisations that actually represent the people whose concerns have been a constant refrain in the lead-up to the gathering.
The United States is, according to a news source, considering further easing or lifting sanctions against Myanmar around the time of the state counsellor’s visit to the White House this month in order to improve the investment environment in the country. This can be attributed to one of the enormous achievements made in the time of the new government including the holding of the conference, and is a welcome move in a democratic transition.
In the eyes of many, national reconciliation is a high profile and controversial issue that requires patience, trust and understanding with honesty as the bedrock of a major step forward, given the complexity that was rife in the country due to schisms. To address these deeply entrenched schisms, all the stakeholders are to strike a balance between showing the people the rewards of a democratisation process while minimising the social fallout through reforms.


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