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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1587

Burma President’s New Year message keeps away from Kachin peace talks

By Zin Linn

President of Burma delivered his first New Year radio message to the whole people all over the nation Tuesday. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper also brought out the Presidents message on 1 January 2013.

The president said in his message that the most important factor for triumph of the nation’s democratic evolution is the mutual trust between the government and the people.

President Thein Sein said that he spoke directly to the people narrowing the gap between the government and the citizens in favor of creating a new direct necessary communication link for the society. His government has been striving for developing transparent communication channel and his cabinet ministers have been providing the people with information, he said. So, he decided to speak on radio which is still an effective channel of communication, he added.

The 67-year-old ex-general, who acted as prime minister in the previous junta, has been acknowledged by the Western Governments for recent reforms, including giving a political space to key opposition figure and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, easing restrictions on the press, releasing important political prisoners and allowing activities of non-governmental organizations in social movement.

In reality, countless citizens say they just know on papers about their country’s changes but witness no difference to their destitute standard of living. However, the President reviewed the situation via optimistic point of view. Thein Sein assessed the state of affairs in his message that popular expectations have increased as reforms in the previous year gave birth to political developments.

Calling attention to the society which was once closed and isolated, Thein Sein underlined the obligation to implement the reform in many aspects. He also advised the people to make an effort in the reform period by means of aspiring to the best.

In the nature of things, he said, people aspire to the best and they have a right to express their desires for hopes. But the most important thing for the entire society is to shape the promising future through ongoing reform processes, he stated in the New Year message.

The people as well as the government need to have knowledge of the gap between demand of the people and capacity of the government, he pointed out. The responsibility is on the shoulder of all citizens to go all-out for thriving of constructive situation, he said. He also urged to make use of negotiated political culture without taking an extreme view in facing possible challenges ahead.

Additionally, he expressed his perspective that if each and every citizen works together with united efforts similar to the time of independence struggles, surely the country will overcome the challenges of change ahead.

The message says at one clause: The world nations were amazed at Myanmar’s impressive political progress in 2012. It can be said that we laid together a foundation of political system needed for ensuring better socioeconomic status on daily basis of our society. Plans are underway in accord with Economic and Social Reform Framework to enable each and every citizen to enjoy the fruitful results of general reforms upcoming years. We will constantly inform the people of our government’s stance and actions.

Looking back into recent past, President held his first press conference for local press on 21 October. It was a landmark event after former military regimes restriction on free press for decaeds.

Thein Sein answered nearly three-dozen questions from domestic news journals and foreign correspondents on various subjects ranging from current war in Kachin state to the possibility of amending the 2008 constitution drawn by the previous junta.

The President said that armed conflicts starting from the post-independence period were still going on in the country. Due to those rebellions, he said, the country has faced difficulties to promote the nation as a developed one.

In fact, government armed forces operate quite a lot of aggressive assaults in recent weeks in Kachin frontline including air-strikes. Fighting goes on deadly all through Kachin and Northern Shan State in the face of government peacemaking pledge to the United States and the EU. All the battles have occurred in KIOs territories including some areas where government troops occupied Kachin areas after a 1994 ceasefire agreement.

On the other hand, the government authorities often say that fighting still comes about in Kachin areas due to mixed-up positions of both troops in front-line areas. Actually, the government troops have violated the 1994 ceasefire agreement and invaded Kachin controlled areas.

Even though the Kachin war is a great barrier in the way of President's professed reform, he did not mention the facts about the heavy fighting against the KIO in his New Year message.

According to KIO's spokesperson Salang Kaba Lah Nan, the government army has been gearing up for a major military offensive against the KIO using massive military strength of around hundred battalions.

Consequently, with continuation of hostilities, the mutual trust between the government and the Kachin people may not be reached easily. And the Presidents ongoing reform processes may not be materialized by any means. People will also think his New Year message as an empty memo.

- Asian Tribune -

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