Ethnic Issues

Heavy-Lifting on Peace Process Is Yet to Come: Suu Kyi

By The Irrawaddy 14 January 2016

RANGOON — As the five-day Union Peace Conference continued in Naypyidaw this week, Aung San Suu Kyi said the event was held only to “legitimize” a so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement signed in October between eight of more than 20 non-state armed groups and the outgoing government of President Thein Sein.

“What I understand is that this peace conference is something to legitimize what they have done with regard to the NCA [nationwide ceasefire agreement]. The new government will have to carry out a genuine peace conference. How can you end a peace conference in five days?” the National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman told Radio Free Asia (RFA) in a story published on Wednesday.

The Union Peace Conference kicked off in Naypyidaw on Tuesday, marking the beginning of a long-sought political dialogue between the Burmese government and several of the country’s non-state armed groups. The majority of the country’s rebel armies abstained from the deal, however, and while they were invited to attend this week’s talks as observers, all of the non-signatories declined.

In her remarks on the conference’s opening day, Suu Kyi stressed the importance of national unity despite shortcomings in the current peace agreement, emphasizing that it was important “not to have division between those who signed and those who did not,” and suggesting that the framework for political dialogue be “flexible.”