Burma

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Attend Union Day Celebrations in Panglong

By Htet Naing Zaw 25 January 2017

NAYPYIDAW—Burma’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend the Union Day celebration in Shan State’s Panglong on Feb. 12 along with her cabinet members, said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson U Win Htein.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend as [a representative of] the government, not as the party chair,” U Win Htein told reporters in Naypyidaw.

Exactly 70 years ago on Feb. 12, Burma’s independence hero Gen. Aung San signed an agreement with Shan, Kachin, and Chin ethnic leaders in Panglong to claim independence together from British colonialists.

The agreement became known as the “Panglong Agreement,” and since then, Union Day is celebrated on Feb. 12 every year—though commemorations do not usually take place in Panglong.

Representatives of ethnic armed groups will attend the Union Day celebration together with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Wai Phyo Aung of the NLD’s youth committee told The Irrawaddy.

NLD’s youth committee will also hold a peace conference in conjunction with the commemoration, he said.

“Peace workshops will be held on both Feb. 12 and 13 and attended by representatives of Burma’s ethnicities,” said Dr. Wai Phyo Aung, who is also a Lower House lawmaker of Rangoon’s Thaketa Township. “This is the third year we organize such workshops in Panglong,” he added.

President U Htin Kyaw will host a dinner in commemoration of Union Day at his presidential residence in Naypyidaw.

At the Myanmar International Convention Center II, there will be political talks, sports competitions, an impromptu speaking contest about Gen. Aung San, as well as a traditional Anyeint performance, said U Win Htein.

As General Aung San was born on Feb. 13, his birthday will be also celebrated in Panglong, said Dr. Wai Phyo Aung.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said 2017 will be a year for peace, and there will be activities in support of the peace across Burma throughout the year, he added.

The State Counselor is prepared for negotiations to reach some political agreements with non-signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) in 2017, U Win Htein said.

He also told the reporters not to be worried about the Arakan State issue and clashes in Shan State.

“Since 1988, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has vowed to establish democracy. She has never lost sight of that goal. Finally she won the by-election [in 2012] and then the general election in 2015 and formed a government. Now, she has her eyes fixed on peace, and she will make it,” U Win Htein assured the reporters.

On Feb. 12 1989, the NLD released a statement that internal armed conflicts should be settled through political means. Today, the NLD’s stance remains the same, he said.

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