- Title: MYANMAR: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Kachin state
- Date: 24th February 2012
- Summary: MYITKYINA, KACHIN STATE, MYANMAR (FEBRUARY 23, 2012) (REUTERS) AUNG SAN SUU KYI IN VEHICLE, WAVING TO CROWD AND RECEIVING FLOWERS VARIOUS OF SUU KYI IN VEHICLE, RECEIVING FLOWERS VARIOUS OF SUU KYI WAVING TO CROWD NAMTI VILLAGE, KACHIN STATE, MYANMAR (FEBRUARY 23, 2012) (REUTERS) WIDE VIEW OF SUU KYI GIVING SPEECH MOGAUNG TOWNSHIP, KACHIN STATE, MYANMAR (FEBRUARY 23, 2012) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY LEADER, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, SAYING: "These unstable conditions, the absence of peace in Kachin state is a very sad situation, not only for the Kachin but for the whole country."
- Embargoed: 10th March 2012 12:00
- Location: Myanmar, Myanmar
- Country: Burma (Myanmar)
- Topics: Politics,People
- Reuters ID: LVAB4S1PY3YE9KOWEQJTTA1IMV5G
- Story Text: Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to northern Myanmar on Thursday (February 23) to campaign in Kachin state, where the government was working out a peace deal with one of the country's biggest rebel groups.
Suu Kyi was welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the Myitkyina airport upon arrival.
She started the visit in the farming and mining village of Namti and then continued to the main town of Mogaung, campaigning for her party's candidates in the state and emphasising the need to win the peace deal.
She delivered a speech in a football field in Mogaung to an audience of around 10,000 people, the majority of whom was Kachin.
"These unstable conditions, the absence of peace in Kachin state is a very sad situation not only for the Kachin, but for the whole country," said Suu Kyi.
She alslo recalled the Panglong Agreement, signed between ethnic groups in 1947 and the government in Rangoon led by her father Aung San, which formed the Union of Burma, that was eventually to be granted independence by the British.
But the agreement's promise of autonomy to ethnic groups in the frontier areas, such as the Shan, Karen, and Kachin, did not fully materialise, prompting rebellion against the government.
Suu Kyi has been saying that peace with rebel ethnic groups is essential for Myanmar's economic and political progress, and she has offered to mediate in talks.
"So if we want development in our country, first we have to make peace internally. The basis of internal peace is understanding each other, having trust in each other, and giving respect to each other. In short, this is the Panglong spirit. I believe that we need to take internal peace with the Panglong attitude," Suu Kyi told the crowd.
Kachins who heard her speech said they believed that her participation in government would bode well for the prospects of peace in the region.
"I feel that it would be good if we can attain peace. It is a necessity for everyone and for our countryâ€¦I'm really sad that our region has no peace," said Sai Khon, a 23-year-old Kachin.
Suu Kyi was also scheduled to meet members of the Kachin National Consultative Assembly, whose leaders are also trying to mediate peace talks between the Burmese government and the Kachin rebels.
Set up in the early 1960s, the Kachin Independence Army is one of the biggest ethnic armed groups in the country, and has not signed a peace agreement with the government. The region has seen sporadic fighting recently, despite a government order to halt all offensives.
In the past year, thousands of Kachins have fled to the Chinese border and bigger towns inside the Kachin State to escape the battles.
Many Kachins are tired of the conflict, and have high hopes for a peace deal.
"We will be very happy if both sides reach a peace agreement," said Dwe Bu.
Suu Kyi is set to continue campaigning in Myitkyina on Friday (February 24), and will also visit the town of Bhamo near the Chinese border.
Her party, the National League for Democracy, also brought donations, including clothes and 10 million kyat (US$ 12,000) to donate to refugees.
The trip marks Suu Kyi's third visit to Kachin State. She had visited the region in 1989 and 2003.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None