‘Resolve Problems Politically’

In a program broadcast on June 17, Aung San Suu Kyi warns against commercial activities for political parties in Burma, and advises the government to negotiate with the country’s ethnic nationalities.


Q: I have heard that you will be embarking on a trip all over the country. I would like to know to which ethnic areas you will be visiting.

A: Plans for my travel have not been finalized as yet.  I will reveal my plans for everybody to see once they have been finalized. I would like to visit all of the places as much as possible. I am hoping that I will be able to do that. Since I have not been to the Tenasserim area for over 20 years, I would like to give priority to visit that area.

Q: If a democratic government comes to power, like the National League for Democracy (NLD), what will be done so that Burma’s farmers will have enough to live on?

A: Since the establishment of the National League for Democracy, policies were set as to what should be done for the development in the agriculture sector. In brief, it means that those matters that will benefit the lives of the farmers and the agricultural sector will be discussed between the farmers themselves and experts and carried out accordingly.

Q: John McCain remarked, when he was visiting Burma, that our country could be faced with a revolution like the ones in the Arab world. So how do you view and assess McCain's words? Also please could you answer how you see the prospect of a revolution or a peoples' uprising happening in Burma as they have happened in the Arab world?

A: John McCain was just saying what could happen in a country depending on the situation there. Whether one wants things to happen or not to happen, in some cases, when things do happen, I think that one must make an effort to get the best result out of what has happened. I don't think you can say for sure that the type of movements that are occurring in the Arab world will not happen in Burma. I think that the answer will depend on the actions of the country's government and the desires of the people.

Q: In Burma now, some of the ethnic nationality parties are establishing commercial companies and generating income. I would therefore like to know your opinion with regard to the way these political parties are working together with the government, politically as well as commercially, under this present government.

A: If the NLD party, as a political party, conducts commercial activities, I have pointed out that there could be unwarranted consequences. With politics on the one hand and commercialism on the other hand, both could become very complicated leading to failure in both.

Q: In present Burma, the development projects of successive military governments have always violated the rights of our native ethnic nationalities. At present, the government has forcibly demanded that over 8,000 people, who are mainly Kayan nationals, to relocate by October because of the upper Paunglaung dam project. I would like to know whether you can give advice so that our Kayan people can avert the problem that they are facing now.

A: With regard to the dam projects, we will make enquiries and will stand on the side of the people as much as possible. If the projects do not represent the majority of the people, we will point that out. The local villagers who have suffered should all get together and report the situation to the authorities concerned. You should also report this to human rights organizations. We ourselves will also inform them. If this kind of project does negatively affect the ordinary people they should at least be given appropriate compensation.

Q: Is it possible to achieve internal peace without political discussions with the ethnic nationalities? Currently the government forces are staging offensive campaigns in the Karen, Shan and Kachin States. War refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries by the thousands. What would you say with regard to that kind of a situation?

A: We believe that the country will have peace and tranquility only if political problems are resolved in a political manner. The instability that is occurring in the ethnic nationality areas is really undesirable for our country. I think that a political system that will negotiate and fulfill the aspirations of the ethnic nationalities is needed in the country.


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