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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  19 March 2014  

Myanmar president pledges to move towards lasting peace in country

YANGON, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein has pledged to move towards a lasting peace in the country, saying that apart from reaching a ceasefire, a political dialogue is imperative to bring about political dialogue between the government and ethnic armed groups, official media reported Monday.

U Thein Sein assured local people during his inspection tour to Myitgyina, the capital of Kachin state, Sunday that the government will start political dialogue shortly after signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement.

He guaranteed that the armed forces and the government stand united in working towards peace.

He also promised to Kachin people the building of a free and open society that encourages full participation of all nationalities.

He called for resolute action to resolve the disputes, drawing comparison with the past and stressing that "a blame game creates evil consequences".

He also emphasized that the implementation of peace and stability are the government's main goals, giving account of the ongoing political, economic and administrative reforms.

Meeting with local religious leaders, U Thein Sein called for building "Unity in Diversity" among different religious groups which he said is crucial for the country to achieve the common goal of stability, peace and unity.

On March 10, the government's Peace-Making Work Committee and ethnic armed groups' National Cease-fire Coordination Team agreed at their preliminary meeting in Yangon to form a nine-member team to jointly draft a single text document for the nationwide cease- fire proposal ahead of Hpa-an Peace talks in Kayin State.

In late January, leaders of 17 ethnic armed groups in Myanmar held a six-day conference in KNU-controlled Law Khee Lar or Laywa, agreeing in principle to the government's framework proposal for " first ceasefire, then political dialogue" to achieve domestic peace and the demand for political dialogue is stipulated in the armed groups' draft national cease-fire accord (NCA).

The Law Khee Lar conference was a follow-up of an earlier ethnic leaders' conference held in Laiza, northernmost Kachin state in October-November 2013, in which the ethnic leaders signed an 11-point framework agreement of their own and the framework had been presented to the first round of talks with the government in Myitgyina, the capital of Kachin state, for making nationwide cease-fire deal.

The government claimed the aim to reach individual cease-fire agreements with 14 ethnic armed groups since the president's peace offer was extended in August 2011. (Xinhua)

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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