Burma: Karen Rebels Open Liaison Office After Having Rare Meeting With Suu Kyi – OpEd

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By Zin Linn

The Karen National Union (KNU) has established its Liaison Office in Kyaukkyi, Toungoo District, Bago Region, Burma, on Tuesday, the state-owned newspaper the New Light of Myanmar said Wednesday.
Karen rebels meet with Aung San Suu Kyi

Naw Si Pho Ra Sein, second from right, general secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), talks to journalists during a press conference after meeting with Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her lakeside residence Sunday, April 8, 2012, in Yangon, Myanmar. The leaders of Myanmar’s most enduring ethnic rebel group have met with opposition leader Suu Kyi a day after meeting with the president. Pic: AP

Present at the Liaison Office opening ceremony were Union Ministers Aung Min, Soe Thein and Khin Yi, Bago Region Minister for Security and Border Affairs Col Thet Tun, departmental officials, members of social organizations and towns elders. The KNU ‘s Secretary-General Naw Zipporah Sein, General Saw Saw Mu Tu Say Poe and peace negotiators from both sides also attended the occasion, the newspaper said.

Union Minister Aung Min, Bago Region Security & Border Affairs Minister Col Thet Tun and Secretary-General of KNU Naw Zipporah Sein jointly opened the office properly.

A Grand Tiger car for the liaison-office was presented to General Saw Mu Tu Say Poe by Union Minister Soe Thein. Afterwards, the union ministers and members of KNU arrived at Bago and Chief Minister of Bago Region Nyan Win, Bago Region ministers and officials welcomed the group at Shwe Wah Tun Hotel and hosted a dinner there.

The regional level peacemaking group and the KNU peacemaking group held peace talks at the hotel Wednesday. The participants in the talk were Union Ministers Aung Min, Soe Thein, Khin Yi, Region Chief Minister Nyan Win, Commander Brig-Gen Nyo Saw, Lt-Col Zaw Naing Oo of the Commander-in-Chief Office, the minister for Bago Region security and border affairs, the minister for Karen national race affairs, members of the KNU peacemaking team and peace-talk members from the both sides.

Bago Region Minister for Security and Border Affairs Col Thet Tun and Member of the Central Standing Committee of KNU Saw Thaw Thi Bwe exchanged minutes of the meeting. At some point in the meeting, the two sides discussed a prolongation of the ceasefire and establishment of liaison offices, the New Light of Myanmar said.

The Bago Region Chief Minister hosted a luncheon for participants of the peace talks at the hotel and presented souvenirs to the KNU peacemaking group led by Secretary-General of the KNU Naw Zipporah Sein and General Saw Mu Tu Say Poe. Afterward, Naw Zipporah Sein and Region Chief Minister U Nyan Win each presented flower baskets and K 500,000 to Oaktha Thanzin Music Band who entertained them with songs during the luncheon.

On Monday, the Karen National Union peace talk delegation met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for two hours at her home in Rangoon. The KNU discussed with the NLD leader and recently elected Members of Parliament their ongoing peace talks with government and their efforts to build a long-standing peace in the country, KNU general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein told Karen News.

Naw Zipporah and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held a joint press conference at Nobel laureate’s residence after their meeting.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also made a public speech to the large gathering of journalists, Karen News reported.

“It is a pleasure and special to meet the KNU delegation. The NLD’s aim is to establish a genuine democratic federal union and to make this happen, we believe that it requires the united inclusiveness off all ethnic groups. If we can continue to meet like this we can exchange our views, we can know more from each other, it can be supportive for the national reconciliation,” Daw Suu said.

Aung San Suu Kyi proved a positive view on meeting with the KNU. She said, “When the NLD was running for the election we explained a national peace building process needed three things – a ‘rule of law’, ‘a national peace’ and an ‘amendment of the constitution’, all these are related to national reconciliation. Using these three main topics we will work for national reconciliation.”

According to Naw Zipporah Sein, discussions with the Nobel laureate were about all citizens of Burma need to get involved in nation’s politics.

“We agreed that national peace building has to be related to allowing all citizens and all ethnic people to participate and for the the government to be responsible,” She said.

The KNU peace talk delegations was led by general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein and Saw Mu Tu Say Poe. The KNU members Saw Ah Toe, Saw Kwe Htoo Win, Saw Ronger Khin, Naw May Oo Mutraw, Saw Thaw Thi Bwe, Naw Blooming Night Zan, Saw Hla Tun, Naw Htoo Paw were also included in the team. They all met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after the KNU federal peace talks with the Burmese Government delegation in Rangoon, Karen News said.


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