- Title: Myanmar's military holds key in national peace
- Date: 22nd May 2017
- Summary: YANGON, MYANMAR (MAY 20, 2017) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC NEAR SHWEDAGON PAGODA VARIOUS OF PEOPLE EXERCISING NEAR INYA LAKE (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) 58-YEAR-OLD YANGON RESIDENT, KHIN SAN TINT, SAYING: "The entire population is hoping for peace from the Panglong Conference. I hope that we achieve peace from this. We welcome the meeting." SHAN ETHNIC WOMAN CHATTING TO PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) SHAN ETHNIC WOMAN, WHO PREFERS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, SAYING: "I want to hope for the best. But this is not an easy one, I think. The various groups (involved with peace process) don' t want to change their current conditions. They don't want to lose or reduce their current opportunities or their power." TRAFFIC NEAR SHWEDAGON PAGODA YANGON, MYANMAR (MAY 19, 2017) (REUTERS) DIRECTOR OF TRAINING, SPECIAL INVITEE FOR 21ST PANGLONG CONFERENCE AT INSTITUTE FOR THE STRATEGY AND POLICY, AUNG THU NYEIN, SITTING AND WORKING AUNG THU NYEIN'S HANDS TYPING ON COMPUTER (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) SPECIAL INVITEE FOR 21ST PANGLONG CONFERENCE, AUNG THU NYEIN, SAYING: "I think there are not enough meetings when we look at the recent Peace Commission activities. They (the government) should do more informal meetings and work more in the sector of Peace Brokers between the two groups. I think the government should recognize them and encourage more talks" YANGON, MYANMAR (MAY 20, 2017) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC ON THE STREET PEOPLE GETTING ON AND OFF A PUBLIC BUS BANGKOK, THAILAND (MAY 19, 2017) (REUTERS) BANGKOK SKYLINE KASETSART UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND MYANMAR EXPERT, LALITA HANWONG, SITTING AND TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) MYANMAR EXPERT, LALITA HANWONG, SAYING: "It's near impossible that the rebel ethnic groups would surrender their arms. We can see that even some of the groups who have signed the ceasefire agreement still clashes with the authorities. This is due to conflict of interest and abundance of resources in the ethnic areas, especially in the northern parts of Myanmar." LALITA HANWONG EYES (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) KASETSART UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND MYANMAR EXPERT, LALITA HANWONG, SAYING: "I still think that the keyword at this conference is the "military." If the military has a leader who is part of the new generation, who wants to reform, or is quite liberal - which is very unlikely to happen - and really wants to negotiate and show their sincerity, achieving peace could be possible."
- Embargoed: 5th June 2017 09:07
- Keywords: National Ceasefire Agreement Peace Brokers reform military Aung San Suu Kyi rebel ethinic group 21st Panglong Conference
- Location: YANGON, KACHIN, NAYPYITAW, MYANMAR / BANGKOK, THAILAND
- City: YANGON, KACHIN, NAYPYITAW, MYANMAR / BANGKOK, THAILAND
- Country: Various
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036HX6EKL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Myanmar's third nation-wide peace conference is due to start on Wednesday (May 24) but the mood is cautious over a positive outcome, which political watchers say, is mainly in the hands of the military.
The conference involves round table negotiations between the government, military, and various armed rebel groups but the agenda of discussions are still unclear. The conference will only be partially represented as Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya's were not invited.
The gathering which will be held amid sporadic clashes between the armed groups and the army has been dubbed the 21st Panglong Conference, after a historic meeting between Suu Kyi's father, General Aung San, and ethnic minorities in 1947 who signed an agreement that would grant their territories full autonomy within 10 years. This was never fulfilled and instead, the country plunged into decades of civil war.
An advisor to the 2017 peace conference, Aung The Nyein, said the government needs to hold more trilateral talks between each ethnic groups in order for the goal of peace to be achievable.
Lalita Hanwong, a Myanmar expert at Thailand's Kasetsart University, said that the National Ceasefire Agreement which the government hopes to sign with all of the ethnic armed groups will just be paperwork and that clashes with authorities would likely continue.
State Councellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has made the peace process a priority for her administration, and has pledged to try to achieve unanimous agreement at the conference, local media reports have said.
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