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Suu Kyi calls British FM ‘good friend’

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi says British politicians have given Burma “invaluable support” and visiting British Foreign Minister William Hague is “a good friend” of Burma.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and British Foreign Minister William Hague meet in Rangon on Thursday, January 5, 2012. Photo: British Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeSuu Kyi will meet with Hague on Friday morning as he winds up his two-day visit, which included talks with government leaders on Thursday. Her message appeared on Hague’s Facebook page.

“Britain and British politicians have provided us with invaluable support over the last twenty-three years.  Foreign Secretary William Hague’s visit will enable him to assess the present situation in Burma.  It will also give me an opportunity to get to know better a man I have long regarded as a good friend of our country,” the message said.

The British FM arrived in Naypyitaw, the capital, on Thursday and met President Thein Sein, his Burmese counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin and Lower House speaker Thura Shwe Mahn. It was the first visit of a British foreign minister in more than half a century.

Hague also met ethnic leaders at the residence of the British ambassador in Rangoon on Thursday.

Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) party leader Aye Thar Aung, who attended the meeting, said, “He told us that he came here to assess the political situation, and focused his talk on the on-going fighting in Kachin State and [efforts] to stop the civil war. He also said that he would continue to work on humanitarian assistance and would only change sanctions on Burma gradually, if Burma continues reforms.”

Reverend Dr. Sabwe Jun of the Kachin Baptist Church briefed Hague on fighting in Kachin State and the plight of refugees and displaced persons. Party leader Aye Thar Aung told the FM that ethnic groups would like to achieve a federal union based on the Panglong agreement.

“I told him the civil war must be stopped and all exile organizations need to come back to the country. The successive governments in power ignored what ethnic people presented to them. Now they were also talking about cease-fires.” He said some ethnic leaders would be provided business privileges and in the future they might decide to form parties and contest in elections, but genuine peace cannot be achieved in this way.

Hague told the ethnic leaders it was important for him to be able to understand the wide range of issues involving ethnic affairs and the civil war.

“Burma issues and Burma affairs are no longer isolated and now they are in the international arena,” National League for Democracy party spokesman Nyan Win said, regarding Hague’s visit.

On Friday, the FM also will meet with student leaders and former political prisoners Hla Myo Naung, Myat Thu and Zargana at the residence of the British ambassador.

A press conference will be held at the British Council on Friday evening to brief reporters on meetings and discussions.

Ethnic party leaders from the 1990 general election and the 2010 general election attended the meeting including Dr. Sai Mon Thar of the Karen People’s Party, Saw Than Myint of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Oo Oo Hla Saw of the  Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, Dr. Min Soe Lin of the Mon National Democracy Party, Nai Ngwe Thein of the All Mon Region Democratic Party, the chairman of the Chin Progressive Party, a Kayah ethnic leader and Reverend Dr. Sabwe Jun of the Kachin Baptist Church.
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 January 2012 12:21 )  

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