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Peace, political amnesty to be discussed with UN special envoy

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) said on Tuesday that  peace and political amnesty are top priorities to be discussed with the UN special envoy to Burma Vijay Nambiar during his visit to Rangoon this week.

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and UN special envoy to Burma, Vijay Nambiar, at Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon in 2010. Nambiar will meet with Burmese opposition groups and others this week in Rangoon and Naypyitaw. Photo: Mizzima A handful of opposition political parties, including the SNDP, have been invited to meet with Nambiar at the UN office in Rangoon on Friday. During his visit, he is also likely to meet with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

‘Peace is the most important topic on our agenda. No. 2 is political amnesty’, Saw Than Myint, the party’s treasurer and diplomatic official, told Mizzima. ‘Presently, our country is not peaceful. So, peace is high in our agenda. We need to establish peace for the sake of the people’.

A central executive committee member and an MP from each of the invited parties will attend the meeting. Most of the parties are those that recently asked the European Union to renew Burma’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status, according to Saw Than Myint.

Agence France-Presse reported that Burma’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin would meet with Nambiar in Naypyitaw on Wednesday.

The National League for Democracy said that if Nambiar meets with the NLD, their leaders will again tell him to urge the government to grant an amnesty to all political prisoners.

‘We will ask him to urge the government to immediately release all political prisoners without exception. And we want the UN to help in establishing human rights in Burma. If so, we will be able to achieve political reconciliation’, said Ohn Kyaing, an NLD spokesman.

He added, however, that since the new government has not made any fundamental changes, the NLD would call on him to put the government under more pressure.

‘Political reconciliation will improve Burma’s economy. A healthy economy can resolve the people’s problems’, Ohn Kyaing said. 

Nambiar is a veteran Indian diplomat who the UN recently appoint as special envoy to Burma, replacing Ibrahim Gambari. The Thai-based Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB) said that the UN special envoy always urges the government to grant political amnesty and to implement an all-inclusive political dialogue.

This time it may offer something new. ‘The UN may offer cooperation in Burma’s developmental processes’, said FDB general secretary Dr. Naing Aung.

He said that UN officials’ interactions with the Burmese regime have not borne fruit and it should cooperate more with political groups in Burma.

‘Both the government and the opposition have demands. So, the UN should enthusiastically help in conducting negotiations between the two sides. In the past, the UN’s efforts have not fulfilled people’s hopes. To achieve effectiveness, it needs to talk with the main political groups frequently’, Naing Aung told Mizzima.

NLD spokesperson Ohn Kyaing noted: ‘The former UN special envoys also urged the Burmese government to grant political amnesty. Mr. Nambiar has visited Burma once, too. But, nothing was improved’. 

Nambiar made his first visit to Burma in November 2010 and met with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD leaders and ethnic leaders from the Committee Representing the People's Parliament during a two-day visit.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 May 2011 09:24 )  

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