The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the Minister of the Office of the President of Myanmar (Burma), U Aung Min, signed Saturday a Joint Declaration at the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) in Yangon.
The MPC, established by Presidential Decree, will serve as a platform for dialogue between all those concerned by Myanmar’s ethnic peace processes.
According to a joint press statement, “the Government of Myanmar and the European Union share the view of the historic opportunity for securing lasting peace in Myanmar and for bringing prosperity to ethnic areas after decades of conflict have come to an end. The MPC will work towards this goal. It shall build confidence and it shall advance the respect for political and human rights.”
European Commission President Barroso said, “Today is a truly momentous occasion. The establishment of the Myanmar Peace Centre is a key step towards ethnic reconciliation and lasting peace in Myanmar. I applaud the initiative of President U Thein Sein and his team, lead by Minister U Aung Min. The EU will support the Government and all ethnic stakeholders on the challenging road that lies ahead”.
President Barroso underlined that the EU funds the MPC’s start-up with EUR 700,000, to be followed by a sizable package later this year, also benefitting ethnic communities. In 2013, the EU will contribute a total of 30 million to Myanmar’s ethnic peace process.
Union Minister Aung Min added, “A new chapter in Myanmar’s history is opening up. Creating the MPC expresses the desire of President U Thein Sein for inclusive and enduring peace, and of its will to work with all stakeholders. To date, we have concluded initial ceasefires with ten out of eleven ethnic armed groups. The President has stated clearly in his speech at the UNGA that this is not enough. Genuine peace shall satisfy political aspirations and address grievances of ethnic communities in Myanmar. This can only happen with a non-partisan platform for comprehensive dialogue. We are happy to work with the European Union – laureate of this year’s Peace Nobel Prize”.
The Myanmar Government has recently institutionalized its peace process architecture in the form of the Union Peace-making Central Committee and the Union Peace-making Work Committee. Established by Presidential Decree, the Myanmar Peace Centre will serve as the Secretariat to these committees. The MPC will also serve as the focal point for international partners and civil society organisations on issues related to the peace process.