Suu Kyi Highlights Ethnic ‘Unity and Responsibility’

By The Irrawaddy 1 March 2016

RANGOON — Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), promised ethnic lawmakers at a Monday evening meeting in Naypyidaw that Burma’s new government will prioritize peace issues as promised.

During the first such meeting with ethnic MPs—held after a Union Parliament session—Suu Kyi encouraged ethnic lawmakers to work together regarding peace implementation.

“We need to have the attitude that no matter what happens in any part of our country, it concerns to the whole nation,” said Aung San Suu Kyi, according to a social media statement published by the NLD chairperson’s office on Tuesday morning.

A reiteration of the party’s commitment to peace comes at the time when clashes have flared in northern Shan State between the Burma Army and ethnic armed groups such as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the armed wing of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), a 2015 signatory of Burma’s so-called nationwide ceasefire pact.

“We frequently remind people that we are not the government yet, as no power transition in the world takes so long as here in Burma,” she explained, adding that the NLD has received complaints from people impatient for political change. To that, she said, “our simple answer is, ‘we don’t have any authority yet.’”

The party chairwoman advised ethnic lawmakers to strive for unity when representing Burma’s people, and to refrain from discriminating against one another.

“I would like to encourage our representatives to focus more on responsibility rather than opportunity. The main responsibility of lawmakers who represent the public is to form peace in the country that is based on unity,” the Facebook post said.

The NLD won a landslide victory in November general election last year, and the current government is expected to hand over power to the new administration later this month.