Yangon, Myanmar – Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s democracy leader said on Monday, during a speech to mark 68th Myanmar Independence Day from Great Britain, that bringing peace to her country will be the first priority of the new government when it takes power in the upcoming weeks.
National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a historic election over powerful a line of military-linked government dominance that lasted over half a century. The outgoing military-backed party has been in power for the last five years.
The Southeast Asian country has over 130 officially-recognised minority groups, many of them with different languages and cultures. Over the years, Ethnic minorities have accused the central government and the military of human rights abuses and resource grabs which have led the country to struggled for decades with armed ethnic groups.
Ethnic minority guerrilla groups which have been in conflict with the military have been fighting for more independence in the regions they control. They also claim to resource sharing of Myanmar’s most valuable natural resources such as deposits of jade, gold, coal and tin.
“We have to build peace. Building peace is the first ever duty of a new government. We have to work to include everyone in a signed ceasefire agreement by holding a really effective peace conference to improve the recent ceasefire agreement and we will urge widespread participation,” she said at the party’s headquarters.
The current government signed a ceasefire in October, but 15 different groups decline to sign. Since then, the military, non-signatories and groups that did not take part in the negotiations have been under fire in eastern parts of the country.
She made no reference to the peace talks already planned or on how the transition to an NLD government is proceeding. What it is known is that legislators will pick a new president by March, when incumbent Thein Sein’s term ends.
Suu Kyi is banned from becoming president as a clause in the 2008 military-directed constitution bars her from the presidency, but Suu Kyi has vowed to rewrite the junta-era constitution and be “above the president” when her government takes power.
Source: The Wall Street Journal