Suu Kyi Says She Is Willing to Help Peace Process

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made a video address to members of her National League for Democracy party on Union Day. (Video grab / YouTube)

Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday offered to help negotiate an end to conflicts between the government and ethnic minority groups, a challenge the country’s president called essential to building democracy.

Suu Kyi made the offer in a video address to members of her National League for Democracy party on Union Day, which marks when her late father Gen Aung San signed a 1947 agreement with leaders of the country’s ethnic minorities to gain independence from Britain together.

The occasion is a reminder of an issue that has destabilized the country since even before it obtained independence in 1948 under the name of Burma.

Rebellions by ethnic minorities striving for greater autonomy were hard for a democratic parliamentary system to handle, which increased pressure for strong central authority and helped lead to an army takeover in 1962. Military rule persisted until 2011.

The government of elected President Thein Sein has reached cease-fire agreements with most of the major ethnic groups but is still engaged in a bitter struggle with the Kachin in northern Burma.

Thein Sein in his Union Day address stressed the importance of “political stability and the end of armed conflicts.”

“At present, political stability and the end of armed conflicts is of prime importance for the flourishing of democracy in the country,” he said in a speech delivered by Vice President Sai Mauk Kham, a member of the Shan minority.

Suu Kyi said she would take part in peace talks if the parties involved asked her to do so.

“I have been criticized by some people for not taking part in peace talks regarding the Kachin conflict. I have always said I am willing to take part in the peace process if the concerned parties wanted me to,” she said.

Suu Kyi’s father was assassinated before independence after negotiating the1947 Panglong Agreement with the minorities. Many in Burma believe his removal from the scene was the reason the pact failed to keep the peace.

Tension with ethnic minorities fighting for greater autonomy in Burma is considered one of the biggest major long-term challenges for any Burma government, though the Kachin are the only major ethnic rebel group that has not reached a truce with Thein Sein’s administration.

A cease-fire that held for nearly two decades broke down in June 2011 after the Kachin refused to abandon a strategic base near a hydropower plant that is a joint venture with a Chinese company. Clashes escalated after the government began using fighter planes and helicopter gunships in its attacks starting on Christmas Day last year.

Earlier this month the government and the Kachin agreed to de-escalate military tensions, open lines of communication and invite observers to attend their next meeting to be held before end of February. Both sides agreed to hold a political dialogue — as opposed to just cease-fire talks — and to establish a monitoring system to implement a cease-fire between warring government troops and Kachin guerrillas in the north of the country.


9 Responses to Suu Kyi Says She Is Willing to Help Peace Process

  1. I like to ask DASSK, are you awake from your hide out? Do you still have leading ability? Are you really who you said you are? It is a bit late to jump into the peace game now, isn’t it? Many people lives have been destroyed by this war. You should have been more active and speak out against unjust agression of the government which you also belong to and stop this war before it even started. You had fail your duty as an icon, as a leader. Too much for Noble Peace prize and many other useless awards.

  2. Oh man! She just wakes up from long nap. After watching the needless assault on the Kachins from the Burmese junta, Suu Kyi is speaking now. We no longer want you, we no longer need you, and we do not like you anymore. We rather work firmly with UNFC and lovers of peace and democracy from around the world. As Suu Kyi turned her deaf ears on us, we also turn our deaf ears on her and we do want want to hear what she says.

  3. Dear T.T and T.B, I know both of you did not read regularly Burmese News from our patriotic exile medias. Daw Aung San Su Kyi has been telling to Government and all minority ethnics group about she wants to involve in negotiation for peace and reconciliation between Government and minority ethnics’ Army from day one. All parties are ignoring her calls until today.
    She can do nothing and her mission will not be succeeding without consent from both sides. I’m really sorry for peoples who blame and criticize Daw Su because they really do not know about current Burmese political situation and where Daw Su is standing. She wants to do her best and get maximum result for all Burmese peoples if she was given chance by both sides. However, it must be formal and properly invited her to lead Peace and Reconciliation mission by both of sides.
    I must advice to minority ethnics’ leader from here, please send official request to President U Thein Sein about they want Daw Aung San Su Kyi’s participating in peace negotiation afford between Government and minority ethnics’ group.
    However, do not forget about President U Thein Sein can not decide who should be included and who should not be included in his President’s peace and reconciliation mission because he was not independent president like President of United State America.
    I honestly believe President U Thein Sein is sincerely wanted peace and reconciliation with minority ethnics’ peoples. We can not blame him for broken truce between KIA and Army. Both sides need to restrain and should not react on emotion and frustration.
    Currently, Burma is not democracy country but the country is still under going democratic reform.
    I believe the country condition will improve after next coming election in 2015.
    At the moment, Federal and Stats are governing by group of ex serviceman and current serviceman.
    All minority ethnics will get more chance for to control their state after minority ethnics’ party and opposition party win in State and Federal election.
    Also I believe ethnics’ army should be converted to police force in their minority ethnic state and Government’s army should take border security duty.
    Peace and reconciliation can be achieved by forgiveness and love but not with killing each other. We must count all blood drops from both sides and we should not scarify anymore lives in this bloody civil war.
    I hope peace and reconciliation will be achieved in Burma before end of 2013.

  4. Too little, Too late, charlatan. Waits till the president moves peace negotiations forward then jumps on the band wagon. Shame on you Suu Kyi, a traitor to your people and a traitor to democracy.

  5. Sai Lin Kan,
    I can not agree with your comment. I will explain why. I was born and raise in Burma and every day of my life when I was in Burma and when I am in west country, I devote myself to change Burma to be a better place. I read Burmese news as much as I can from credible and balance news agencies such as Irrawaddy, Democratic Voice of Burma and some foreign news agencies. So far I did not see Aung San Suu Kyi is actively involve in making peace with Ethinc people. Her silence on Kachin war is deafining. Kachin war is not as controversial as Rohingya issue. Does she even know that it is life and death issue for Kachin people cause by this war. Remember one historic fact, which is in 1988, when we walk on the streets of Burma demanding Democracy, does Aung San Suu Kyi got any invitation to get involve in Burma politic? Now, it is even more important time for Burman and Ethnic people alike to built understanding and trust, shouldn’t she be more active than 1988. It is peace making process, it is not any more of toppling military regime. As a Noble peace prize winner, shouldn’t she be more active in peace making? I remember one of dark behaviour when she was at London School of Economy to gave speech. One Kachin Ethnic man simply ask her where she stand on Kachin issue, and I saw her arrogance, anger when she is asked what she is hiding. Is she really a leader? Is she really fit to rule Burma with her weakness? May be you will say that it will be better than military rule. I can tell you one thing, you put any civillian with good conscience and enough education at president of Burma, that person can run better than any of Burmese Military thugs, not only Aung San Suu Kyi can make changes. One thing I don’t understand is this, is Aung San Suu Kyi a stranger of Burma or she is a true citizen of Burma? Only stranger need invitation to get involve in family affair, not the family members. Especially, when it comes to life and death of family members, every members have a duty to help and to get involve to solve the problem. If she is pretending like she is special person and demending special respect, she will not successful. A great leader is the one who is very close to the very bottom class of the citizen if she forget the first rule of the good leader. I hope she can put herself back to normal citizen of Burma and represent ordinary people rather than high class and popularity or mingle with crocket cronies. Good luck Aung San Suu Kyi, you lost me.

    • Do you think she has to put on a smiling face all the time? Can you smile in every situation? That would be so pretentious if you have a cheerful face all the time. Don’t try to translate her as arrogance or acting like a high class or all those nonsense when she doesn’t want to smile. Don’t be so insecured but have a sense of humour.

  6. Dear Tom Tun
    DASSK or Sai LK must reply your comment upon both of them.

  7. Suu Kyi Says She Is Willing to Help Peace Process…only if she is awarded the Noble Peace Prize. Where was she all this while… and how many deaths does it take before she calls it to stop? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind and it will always be: It is politics, even if it is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

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