Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ENC wants Suu Kyi to serve as cease-fire mediator

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:04 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese ethnic leaders continue their calls for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to act as a cease-fire mediator in the ongoing negotiations between the government and ethnic groups.

Dr. Shwe Khar, the Secretary General of ENC. Photo: ENC
The latest call came from the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), which said that it welcomed the open letter signed by Suu Kyi urging the government troops and ethnic armed groups to stop fighting and work to solve problems by using peaceful ways. She said she welcomed a chance to mediate to solve the problems regarding ethnic issues.

“We think if a person like Daw Suu [Aung San Suu Kyi], who is trusted by the people, mediates between the two sides, it will be better,” Dr. Sui Khar, the ENC Secretary General, told Mizzima.

Suu Kyi’s open letter released on July 28 addressed to President Thein Sein, the Kachin Independence Organization, the Karen National Union, the New Mon State Party and the Shan State Army, said, “On my part, I am prepared, and pledge, to do everything in my power towards the cessation of armed conflicts and building peace in the Union.”

An ENC statement said: “The ENC has firm faith in the ability and personal role of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in helping to secure a nationwide cease-fire, as well as re-solidifying the foundation for the future national unity in the Union.”

Less than 100 days after the new government led by President Thein Sein assumed office, fighting has raged between government troops and Karen, Kachin and Shan ethnic armed groups, which rejected the former junta’s order to transform their armies into a government-controlled Border Guard Force. Because of the fighting, thousands of refugees have fled from their homes and farms and schools have been closed.

Suu Kyi’s open letter said, “Conflicts among nationalities can surely be resolved on the basis of mutual respect and mutual understanding, leading ultimately to the Union’s peace and stability.”

The ENC statement also urged the Burmese government to start negotiations for a nationwide cease-fire and to initiate a national dialogue aimed at establishing a genuine federal union.

“Armed conflicts can never solve the problems. That’s why we have repeatedly urged the government to hold a dialogue to solve the problems,” Sui Khar said.

After the former Burmese junta suppressed peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in 2007, Suu Kyi forwarded a message to Ibrahim Gambari, the special adviser to the UN secretary-general on Burmese affairs, saying that she wanted to work to establish peace with ethnic groups. At that time, the former junta forbade ethnic groups from directly communicating with Suu Kyi.

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