New Delhi (Mizzima)
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a government representative, Minister Aung Kyi, on Friday agreed in a four-point statement to avoid conflicting views and to work on a reciprocal basis.
It was the second meeting this year between the minister and Suu Kyi at a government guesthouse in Rangoon.
The meeting lasted 50 minutes. After the meeting, Aung Kyi read a joint statement to reporters.
The statement’s four points are:
1. Will cooperate with the government for stability and development in the country to fulfill the necessary aspirations of the people.
2. Will cooperate constructively for the flourishing of democracy in the country and better development in economic and social works.
3. Will avoid conflicting views and focus on mutual cooperation.
4. Will continue the meetings.
Responding to a reporter’s question on whether there had been real progress in the meetings, Suu Kyi said, “If there is cooperation, there must be progress in ethnic affairs and all other things including the media.”
Responding to an open letter sent by Suu Kyi to the newly formed government and ethnic armed groups calling for a nationwide cease-fire, Aung Kyi said, “This is one of the agendas under our cooperation.”
He said, “Cooperation is badly needed in our country, and it is a major issue. If we can resolve this issue, other issues will be resolved more easily.”
Aung Kyi is the minister of social welfare, relief and resettlement. He and democratic opposition leader Suu Kyi met previously on July 25. At that meeting, both sides said their talks were productive, but they did not disclose details of the meeting.
Three days after that meeting, Suu Kyi issued an open letter calling for peace between the government and ethnic armed groups. Similarly, she issued a statement on Thursday expressing her concerns over the building of Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River in eastern Burma.
Burma observers said it is apparent that the government has made a decision to reach out to Suu Kyi in an effort to use her influence and prestige in connection with serious issues that face Burma, including poverty, a civil war, a stagnant economy, currency concerns, the environment and other matters.
On the other hand, some observers said the government might be trying to compromise Suu Kyi’s autonomy and soften her criticism of the government and the former military leadership.
Currently, Burma is seeking the chair of Asean for 2014 even as there are calls from the international community for a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the former military regime.
Among the concerns that Suu Kyi has repeatedly addressed is the immediate release of all political prisoners in Burmese jails, which now number more than 2,000 prisoners.
After reading a joint statement, the two leaders answered questions raised by three reporters.
Q: What progress in which sectors do you expect to follow after this second meeting?
A: Suu Kyi: As we said here (joint statement), I expect overall progress in all sectors. And also I hope progress will occur everywhere for the betterment of the country. I am not clear with your question.
Q: Do you expect progress in ethnic affairs?
A: Suu Kyi: If there is cooperation, there must be progress in ethnic affairs too. There must be progress in all sectors. If we really cooperate for the sake of the country, there must be progress including in the media.
Q: In the last joint statement, you said you would discuss differences. Does that mean between the government and Aung San Suu Kyi or between armed ethnic groups and the government? And the next point in that statement says discuss the rule of law. The government has said Aung San Suu Kyi’s party is unlawful; does it mean you will discuss this matter?
A: Aung Kyi: Alleviation of differences means it can exist everywhere. In nature, there is unity in diversity. In all work, there may be differences. But as I said here, we will focus on cooperation.
Q: This question is to Aung Kyi. In what areas have you started cooperating? Aung San Suu Kyi has issued her open letter calling for peace in the country. What about that?
A: All of these things are under the agenda of cooperation. Cooperation is the main problem and it is really necessary for the country. We are now working to resolve it. If this main problem can be resolved, other corollary issues arising from this main problem can be resolved easily.
This article was published first on Mizzima News Agency