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Burma: Government says peace plan while its army keeps on maneuver

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Burma's Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, who acts as Chairman of Union-level Peace-making Working Committee, spoke to meeting (1/2012) of the committee on Sunday at Thabin Hall of the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said today.

Participants in the meeting were Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander- in-Chief (Army) General Soe Win, Union ministers, Region and State chief ministers, commanders, the deputy minister for Border Affairs, the deputy attorney-general, national races Parliament Representatives from Lower and Upper Houses   and the director-general of Union government office, the newspaper said.

Vice-President said in his speech that the meeting is the first event of the committee. The meeting intended to clarify development of peace procedures being taken by the government, to bring together all stakeholders in peace making process in regions where initial peace deals have been reached, and to get suggestions for creating peace in regions where peace is yet to be set up.

On 3 May 2012, the 11-member "Union-level Peace-making Central Committee' was shaped with the President as the chairman by the Order No (11/2012) of the President Office. The 52-member working committee was formed on the same day including Dr Sai Mauk Kham as the chairman. It is responsible for submitting report to the central committee after accomplishing duties.

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According to, the Vice-President, there are three steps in peace-making process. They are discussion at the State level, discussion at the Union level and discussion at the Union Parliament.

The State level discussions involve ceasefire, residing only in the special areas; weapons are not allowed beyond the special areas, open liaison-offices and arranging dates and venues for Union level discussions, he clarified.

He continued his clarification about the Union level discussion. It includes living forever in the Union of Myanmar (Burma), accepting Three Main National Causes, lawful business activities, participation in anti-narcotics drives, participation in politics by establishing political parties, accepting the constitution and can amend it in the Parliament and transformation of armed groups into one army.

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The third stage discussion will take place at the Union Parliament, where all national races have to sign the eternal peace deal, he said. On 18 August 2011, President Thein Sein offered the olive branch to all armed groups with Notification No (1/2011) to 11 armed groups.  

He said that accords have been reached with 10 out of 11 groups at the State level or the Union level. He also said that signing peace deals would not merely establish peace. Being a fragile situation, it can be reversible at any time, he made a remark.

According to Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, President Thein Sein has clearly given guidance to his soldiers not to take any offensive and even not to shoot except in self-defense. To keep up the dealings between the two parties, liaison offices will be established to address the troubles, he said.

"The government is paying tribute to peace, because it wants the socioeconomic development of the country. The over 50- year armed conflicts have wasted time and wealth of the country. Failure to reach peace is one of the reasons which cause the nation to plunge into the status of the least developed countries," he said.

In his conclusion remarks, Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Kham said the government has been striving to gain peace as an important issue in order to support the country out of the LDC list.

In fact, Burma has been at civil war since independence was declared in 1948. The expenditure of the civil war turned the nation into one of the world's most impoverished nations. Burma's admittance to Least Developed Country status by the UN-OHRLLS in 1987 brought to light its economic bankruptcy.

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The cost of hindrance ending civil-war will spoil thousands of innocent lives, a great number of economic opportunities and a chance to take a leading role in ASEAN. If the government has a proper political reform map, it should first declare a one-sided break in fighting to show goodwill towards war victims and innocent civilians.

Coincidently, on the same day, The Karen National Union (KNU) marked its 62nd anniversary of Martyrs' Day. President of the KNU Saw Tamla Baw delivered a speech to fellow KNU leaders, members and the wider ethnic Karen community on Sunday, August 12th, according to the Karen News (KIC).

In his speech, President of the KNU said that Pressident Thein Sein's government was indeed carrying out positive reforms. However, there are much more to be done to achieve lifelong peace.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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