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Suu Kyi floats Panglong II via modern technology

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has expressed the desire to hold a second Panglong Conference with ethnic minorities groups and pro-democracy groups by using modern communication technology, according to the ethnic leaders

Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-in-Karen-ClothsFive National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders and seven ethnic group leaders met for about 30 minutes yesterday afternoon at NLD headquarters and agreed to convene a second Panglong Conference. Suu Kyi said she wanted to hold the conference using video-conference technology to avoid the need to apply for permits from the authorities.

“To hold such a conference, we would need to obtain a permit from the junta … she was trying to seek an alternative to overcome the barrier of distance and avoid having to apply for such a permit,” Zomi National Congress (ZNC) chairman Chin Sian Thang told Mizzima.

The Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) chairman Thar Ban said, “Without the approval of the junta, we can’t convene a traditional conference. I think the video conference is very similar to live television broadcasts made by news agencies. People from different countries will be able to participate in the meeting”.

Also present at the meeting were Tin Oo, Win Tin, Than Tun and Hla Pe from the NLD; United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD) chairman Thawng Kho Thang, All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP) chairman Nai Ngwe Thein and Naing Tun Thein; and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy chairman Sai Shwe Kyuu, with Sai Tin Hlaing.

The ZNC held its 22nd founding day ceremony on October 24 in Kalaymyo, Sagaing Division and issued “Kalay Declaration” calling for the convening of a second Panglong Conference for the restoration of national reconciliation and establishing an inclusive federal union.

More than 50 people including NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo and central executive committee member Win Tin, Committee Representing the People’s Parliament secretary Aye Tha Aung, Mon leaders Nai Ngwe Thein and Naing Tun Thein, prominent politicians Thakhin Thein Maung, Ohn Maung and Nyunt Thein, and student leaders, signed the declaration. Some political parties that contested in the election on November 7 also expressed their support for the goal of the declaration.

At the time the declaration was made, Suu Kyi was under house arrest.

“Our first priority is to demand equality and self-determination. We need to conduct continuous multilateral negotiations. In fact, we want to meet face-to-face. But, if that is impossible, we will seek an alternative to convene the second Panglong Conference. Currently, we are trying to lay down basic principles,” Thar Ban said.

The Panglong Agreement was reached between the Burmese government under Aung San, Suu Kyi’s father, and the Shan, Kachin and Chin peoples on February 12, 1947, Parties accepted in principle “Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas” and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly (the first post-independence parliament). The deal came a year after the First Panlong Conference was held in the town of the same name in the south of Shan State.

Since 1948, the ethnic minorities have had their rights and self-determination in traditional areas of control denied, leading many of them to armed struggle against the Burmese military junta. Clashes in many areas have raged for more than 60 years.

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 November 2010 17:38 )  

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