Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oath standoff a ‘technical matter’: Suu Kyi

Thursday, 26 April 2012 19:06 Lynn Bo Bo

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday that overcoming the NLD boycott of the opening sessions of the Burmese Parliament is a “technical matter” that could be resolved soon.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi with Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday, April 26, 2012, at her home in Rangoon following a private meeting. He said the Burmese government’s democratization process was encouraging, and that he supported the suspension of E.U sanctions earlier this week. Photo: Mizzima

Her remarks on the party’s continuing standoff with the government over the wording of the parliamentary oath of office were made during a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at her lakeside home in Rangoon.

“All problems will be easily solved soon,” said Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a lengthy explanation of the NLD position, which has begun to attract criticism from some within Burma and abroad, Suu Kyi said the party’s negotiators were trying to reconcile an “inconsistency” between the required oath and the country's election laws.

“This is why I say it is a technical matter ... You can't say one thing in one place and another thing in another place. There has to be consistency,” the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters.

“You mustn't forget that this is one of the major issues that prevented us from entering the 2010 elections,” she said.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) has said it wants the word “respect” substituted for the word “protect [some say safeguard]” in regards to the oath of office and in regards to the country’s 2008 Constitution, which was drawn up by the military regime that ruled Burma at the time. The NLD has pledged that it will try to amend the Constitution to remove government-appointed military representatives to Parliament, who represent 25 per cent of the body.

 Suu Kyi said the NLD wanted to resolve the problem by working with President Thein Sein and Parliament officials and did not want it to become a political issue.

She said she was looking forward to working closely with Thein Sein and members of Parliament to try to move the country towards national reconciliation and solve a host of other problems.

The NLD will have 43 members represented in Parliament, if the issue is resolved. It boycotted the 2010 elections that were widely criticized as rigged in favour of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which still dominate Parliament with around 85 per cent of the seats in the lawmaking body.

“We hope that the present problem will be smoothed over without too much difficulty before too long,” Suu Kyi said.

Other opposition parties are seeking to work for a compromise proposal, lawmakers told Reuters news agency in the capital Naypyitaw this week.

Terzi, who is on a two-day visit to Burma, is accompanied by a business delegation following the European Union's move this week to suspend most of its economic sanctions against the country.

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