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NLD wants to meet with ethnic armed groups – but obstacles abound

New Delhi (Mizzima)  – Discussing a Second Panglong Conference with ethnic armed groups is on the agenda of the National League for Democracy (NLD), but it would first have to negotiate with the authorities.

NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo at the opening of the Aung San Panglong Library Reading Room in Thingangyun Township in Rangoon. Photo: Mizzima“We would like to meet with them very much. We want to talk about convening a Second Panglong Conference with ‘union spirit.’ But there’s no way that NLD representatives can go to their areas to meet with them,” NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo told Mizzima.

Tin Oo made his remarks in response to a National Council of the Union of Burma (NUUB) statement released on Wednesday, which urged Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD to meet with all ethnic leaders.

The NCUB statement also urged the government to seek a nationwide cease-fire, to negotiate with all ethnic groups and to recognize the NLD’s capacity as a unifying force and to support its efforts toward national reconciliation.

Tin Oo said the NLD could meet legal ethnic groups, but to meet with ethnic armed groups, it would have to first negotiate with government authorities.

“We can do as much as the circumstances permit. In the past, ethnic leaders from the Committee Representing the People's Parliament including Aye Tha Aung went to Kachin State because ethnic people invited them. But when they arrived in the area, the authorities arrested them and put them in prison,” Tin Oo said.

Suu Kyi released an open letter on July 28 addressed to President Thein Sein and ethnic armed groups.

“On my part, I am prepared, and pledge, to do everything in my power towards the cessation of armed conflicts and building peace in the Union,” she said.

The NLD will hold a central committee members’ meeting on November 18 to discuss whether it will re-register as a political party or not. Tin Oo said that the NLD would be more capable after it has made the decision.

“Aung San Suu Kyi always prioritizes ethnic affairs and she will never retreat from it till now. She believes that her meetings with Thein Sein can continue,” Tin Oo said.
“We must decide whether the party will re-register and whether the party will contest in the elections. We will discuss that with central committee members and after that our actions will be more effective.”

The NCUB also welcomed the NLD decision to meet with the United Nationalities Alliance and its intra-party discussions. The NCUB comprises the National Democratic Front, which was formed by ethnic armed groups; the Democratic Alliance of Burma and the Members of Parliament Union, from the 1990 elections; and the NLD-Liberated Area.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 November 2011 21:52 )  

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