‘Overcome Misunderstandings’

In a program on Dec. 10, Aung San Suu Kyi urges listeners to support proposed negotiations modeled on a 1947 pact between Burma’s central government and ethnic nationality groups.

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Q:  At this busy and critical time, you must be exhausted both in body and in mind from having to answer all these questions. Please look after yourself, since your well-being is so important to the people of our country.

A:  I am very grateful for your kind concern, and I will be very careful with myself because of the respect I have for the kindness shown by everyone who is concerned for me. I am very encouraged by the support that all of you have shown. I think I need not emphasize to you that we will achieve quick success because of the support that all of you have given to me.

Q:  I would like to know, are the persons who are responsible for your safety providing you with air-tight security, both day and night? I would also like to ask whether they are taking good care of your health.  As a loyal citizen of our country, I am willing to perform whatever duties you wish me to carry out. Lastly, please pass on to the people of Burma some words of encouragement—that they should not despair, as we will always be here to support them.

A:  I am very happy to know that you will always be supporting us.  I enjoy listening to your songs on the radio every now and then  [the questioner is a well-known Burmese singer]. I would like to say that those who look after my safety are providing me with a very tight security system. Please do not worry. As for my health, Dr. Tin Myo Win and Dr. Pyone Maw Ei, who have taken care of me for many years, will continue to do so. Please don’t worry about that either.

As for us, we would like to give not just you, but everyone, duties to carry out. Everyone should combine their efforts for the development of our country. Please believe that everyone has the ability to work. And with that in mind, please help and support us in our work. Let me say that if we are indeed encouraged just by words of support, imagine how much more encouragement we will feel if you support us through your actions. That by itself will enable us to work much harder for the development of our country.

Q:  All of us ethnic nationalities welcome and support the 21st century Panglong conference that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been talking about. What are the problems you face as make plans for the conference? How can all the media groups, including the SHAN [Shan Herald Agency for News], support and help with your plans? Also, I would like to know what role the various armed cease-fire groups in many of the country’s states will play, and how all this will be coordinated.

A:  I am very encouraged by the fact that the ethnic nationalities welcome and support and will work together to help with the 21st century, or “second,”  Panglong conference. The most difficult aspect of planning this conference is that its purpose is misunderstood. There are some who think that the aim of this second conference is confrontation, and that it will be dangerous. But our objective is to bring about national reconciliation and an end to internal conflicts, to arrive at a proper understanding of the concept of Union, and to inculcate a strong sense of the Union spirit.

It will be a big help to us if the media groups, including the SHAN, will explain all this to the people so that they understand the true meaning of the conference. This will help us to overcome the misunderstanding that seems to exist. As we would like all of the ethnic nationalities to be steadfast members of the Union, I would like to request the armed cease-fire groups to help by participating with trust in the 21st century Panglong conference so that it may be convened successfully.

Q:  Are efforts continuing to convene the tri-party negotiations [among the junta, the democratic opposition, and the ethnic groups] to resolve Burma’s political problems? And will those efforts include everyone?

A:  We are always happy to hear that the ethnic nationals welcome and support us. As we continue to believe that the participation of the ethnic nationalities in these negotiations is essential for our country, we will continue to work toward that end. We will never proceed by leaving the ethnic nationalities behind. In a Union, it will not be possible to find a political solution without the ethnic nationalities. We want you to believe that we are working as quickly as possible toward a scenario where everyone participates as much as possible. I would like to request here that everyone work together to help us bring this about.

Q:  I am happy to hear that you are working toward reconvening the Panglong conference in Burma. I was wondering if you could create a work plan for this so that the ethnic nationality groups and those working on Burma affairs abroad, as well as all of the people in Burma, can work together on this.

A:  As I mentioned earlier, the best hope for the success of the second Panglong conference will be for everyone to work together to overcome misunderstandings about the conference. We want everyone to help so that everyone understands clearly that the second, or 21st century, Panglong conference is not being convened with a view to confrontation, but rather to assist in national reconciliation efforts.

 Let me say here that it will be a really great help to us if the Burmese people and the ethnic nationalities living abroad can put their efforts together so that our people understand what it means to have a federal system, so that they will not be afraid of it, and so that they will understand the meaning of Union and give rise to the spirit of Union.


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