By Zin Linn
President Thein Sein met chairpersons and general secretaries of Group of Friends of Democracy Parties on Wednesday in Pobbathiri Township in Naypyitaw, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper has reported.
During the meeting, the President explained policies of the government and basic tasks for the country and the people. It was the first meeting of its kind and similar meetings are to be scheduled in the future, the President said.
He said the government and the parties has a common objective to set up a peaceful and developed society. He called for the parties to cooperate on common ground, despite differences in politics. Being an inexperienced democracy, every step of the country must be taken carefully and candid proposals and activities were invited, he said.
Stability as well as socio-economic development is a common aspiration of the whole population, the President emphasized. With regard to the political stability and peace of the entire country, his government has decided to fulfill the desire of the people, Thein Sein promised.
He also said that ‘political stability’ was built through engagement with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party. According to him, his government has planned three steps to bring domestic armed conflicts to an end.
The first step is to seek multilateral ceasefire agreements. The second step is building trust through negotiations based on eight principles, he explained. Agreements have to some extent been reached with 10 among 11 ethnic armed groups, as said by the President.
The President also spoke about the the armed conflicts in Kachin State. Peace talks are being held with Kachin Independence Army. Kachin State has suffered a lot from this civil war. Local people lost their professions and their children lost educational opportunities as they abandoned their homes due to conflict, he explained.
“Losses of Kachin State are losses of the country. Peace would be built with KIA soon through mutual negotiations,” Thein Sein said.
On the other hand, Kachin Independence Organization delegation met Vice Chairman Aung Min of newly formed Union-level Peace-making Committee at Mai Jayan on Sino-Burma border holding informal talks on June 1, June 19 and 20. KIO had already met Kachin State-level peace committee led by Col. Than Aung for twice and then met with union level peace committee led by Aung Thaung for 3 times and met unofficially with union level peace committee led by Aung Min for 4 times.
The fighting between government armed forces and KIA troops continued in Kachin State and northern Shan State. The two armies had countless armed-clashes in June and both sides suffered several casualties in the warfare. Government delegation led by Aung Min and KIO delegation had a meeting at Maijayan on June 20. During that meeting, they talked about repatriation of swelling war refugees as well as withdrawal government troops from KIO controlled territory.
In addition, without restoration of peace and stability, Thein Sein stated that the nation required investment and technology to become a developed nation, although having natural resources. So, he said that the government invited more investments these days. In conclusion, he said that the government is endeavoring to get success in the above mentioned tasks and invited those present at the meeting to join hands with the government.
Those political party leaders attended the Wednesday meeting sponsored by the President were Chairman of National Democratic Force (NDF) Khin Maung Swe, Party Leader Dr Than Nyein, Chairman of Democratic Party (Myanmar) U Thu Wai, General Secretary Than Than Nu, Demoracy and Peace Party (DPP) Chairman Aung Than, General Secretary Myo Nyunt, General Secretary of Peace and Unity Party (PUP) Tun Shwe, Chairman of Union Democracy Party (UDP) Thaung Win, General Secretary of Rakhine Nationals Development Party (RNDP) Oo Hla Saw, Chairman of Shan Nationalities Democratic (SNDP) Party Sai Aik Paung, Vice-Chairman of All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMRDP) Nai Hla Aung, Chairman of Chin National Party (CNP) Zo Zam and Chairman of Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP) Saw Thein Aung.