Dear esteemed ethnic national brothers and sisters,
Today is the 72nd Anniversary of the Union Day, when we can express our pride in our success at uniting our ethnic brethren. On this auspicious occasion, I send my Message of Greetings, and good wishes for peace and auspiciousness, to the people residing in the Union.
Though we had lived together through weal and woe with the united strength of the ethnic people, we had to abandon our sovereignty, and we lost our independence in the 19th century, when our country was annexed by the British colonialists. After the loss of independence, the unity of all ethnic people was shattered due to the divide-and-rule tactics of the colonialists.
Our national leader Bogyoke Aung San and ethnic leaders rebuilt the unity of all national races and sacrificed their lives to regain the independence that we had lost. General Aung San and ethnic leaders held the Panglong Conference as part of efforts for regaining independence for the hilly regions without separating them from the mainland. It was on 12 February, 1947 that they signed the historic Panglong Agreement, pledging to make a united demand on behalf of all ethnic people for independence. The auspicious day which showed the Union spirit and the solidarity of all ethnic people, and on which the Panglong Agreement was signed, was designated as the Union Day, and today is the 72nd anniversary of that day.
The Panglong Agreement bore fruit, and we regained our independence and sovereignty on 4 January, 1948. However, due to the legacy of evil and a variety of reasons, misunderstandings, mistrust, and doubt crept in among the ethic people, leading to 70 years of armed conflicts, and the fire of armed conflicts has not yet ceased.
Only the united strength of the ethnic people and their commitment can help preserve and perpetuate independence and sovereignty and prevent the disintegration of the Union.
The most important requirement for the perpetuation of the Union, in which ethnic people with different languages, literature, culture, and customs are residing together, is building a democratic federal Union.
Today, to build a future nation as a federal democratic Union, the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong is in progress. At the 21st Century Panglong, the Union Government and ethnic armed organizations, which have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, are holding negotiations, and, so far, 51 basic principles for a democratic federal Union have been signed into the two parts of a Union Accord. Meanwhile, based on the policy of inclusiveness, the country is on the road to peace through negotiations with ethnic armed organizations which have not yet signed the NCA.
The Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong is a pragmatic step towards realizing the dream of building a federal democratic Union that people from all ethnic nationalities of the country aspire towards.
It is confident that all regions and states will be developed within a short time when peace prevails across the Union, and the dream of all ethnic people will come true. People from ethnic nationalities are urged to solemnly envisage the development they want to see in their respective regions and states, after achieving national reconciliation and peace.
Therefore, on this auspicious day, the 72nd Anniversary of the Union Day, I solemnly urge all Union citizens to cooperate with the Union Government, the Hluttaw, and the Tatmadaw in implementing the tasks for building a federal democratic Union, achieving national reconciliation and socio-economic development of the people, and to participate and cooperate in the implementation of the five Union Day National objectives: –
1. All ethnic nationals to work with collective strength for non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national unity, perpetuation of national sovereignty; and to work for preservation and protection of the above.
2. To strive for the emergence of a Constitution that is in alignment and harmony with the Democratic Federal Union.
3. To strive for the success of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panlong and thence till the success of the internal peace process.
4. All union nationals to cooperate and work in “Unity and Harmony” for rule of law and for the people to be secure and free from danger.
5. All union citizens to be able to enjoy good education and adequate health care protection.