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Burma’s economic development requires peace: Thein Sein

One day before the opening of the Burmese Parliament, President Thein Sein told members of the peacemaking committee  that the country needs national reconciliation with ethnic groups and respect for the rule of law in order to move forward successfully, according to state-run media on Wednesday.

Burmese President Thein Sein Photo: president's websiteAs chairman of the peacemaking committee, he said a sense of mutual respect, patience, tolerance, and sympathy is needed in negotiations and in handling the issues confronting the country as it moves toward a more democratic system and economic development.

"In transforming from the old system to the new one, the people desire practical change rather than that on paper,” he said, in an article published in The New Light of Myanmar. “In doing so, political and economic changes in the foundation of the country must be carried out.”

"Rule of law should prevail in all political reforms,” he said. “Unending racial rift or armed ethnic fight hinders economic development. In implementing political and economic reforms, ease of ethnic conflicts needs to be considered. Only when such reforms are carried out, will national reconciliation be achieved and ethnic conflicts ended.”

Citing the diversity of Burma’s population, he said, “Even among family members born of the same parents, there are differences in colour, height, attitude and behavior. Despite differences among the national races, what matters most is the Union spirit that is the love of the Union.”

He noted that the Constitution prohibits discrimination of all types, saying : “The Union shall not discriminate [against] any citizen…based on race, birth, religion, official position, status, culture, sex or wealth,” and it maintains all persons should enjoy “equal rights before the law and shall equally provide legal protection.”

The government formed an 11-member central peacemaking group on May 3 to negotiation peace agreements with ethnic armed groups in the country, some of whom have been fighting for five decades. The other members include two vice presidents, two speakers of the two houses of the parliament, the commander-in-chief of the defense services and the minister of home affairs.

Negotiations have led to 12 ethnic armed groups signing peace pacts with the government at the state or central levels since August 2011. However, peace talks with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) remain deadlocked so far and fighting resumed in Kachin State in June 2011, when a cease-fire was broken. Fighting has also continued in portions of Shan State bordering Kachin State.

The ethnic groups enjoying a cease-fire are involved in ongoing negotiations with the government over issues of economic development, political roles, fighting illicit drugs and other areas.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 July 2012 13:37 )  

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