President U Thein Sein meets political leaders, ethnic affairs ministers and ethnic representative leaders

President U Thein Sein cordially greets an ethnic affairs minister before  the meeting.—mna
President U Thein Sein cordially greets an ethnic affairs minister before the meeting.—mna

Nay Pyi Taw, 12 Jan — The meeting of the president, political leaders, ethnic affairs ministers and ethnic representative leaders was held at the Ngu Shwe Wah Hall of the Presidential Palace on Monday morning.
Present at the meeting were President U Thein Sein, Vice Presidents Dr Sai Mauk Kham and U Nyan Tun, Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw Thura U Shwe Mann, Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw U Khin Aung Myint, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Chairman of Union Election Commission U Tin Aye, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice Senior General Soe Win, Vice Chairman of Union Solidarity and Development Party U Htay Oo, Chairperson of National League for Democracy Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairman of National Unity Party U Than Tin, U Khin Maung Swe of FDA, U Sai Aik Paung of NBF, U Khun Tun Oo of UNA, leaders of Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan national race parties and ethnic affairs ministers from regions and states, totaling 48 participants.
In his opening speech at the meeting, President U Thein Sein said: Today’s meeting is being held in accordance with the agreement reached among the participants at the meeting held on 30 October where various demands and proposals from different points of views were made
After considering the demands and proposals, I have arranged the meeting so that today’s attendees can participate in discussions to realize them in the interests of the people. I have invited national race leaders as well as ethnic affairs ministers who are representatives of national races in states and regions as I believe that it is necessary to include the viewpoints of the majority of national races. I hope today’s discussions will result in some outcomes that can be practically implemented in cooperation. Priorities and details for further discussions in future meetings are to be sought at today’s meeting.
The purpose of the meeting are three agenda stated in the invitation letters and as the they are fundamentals for the success of the democratic transition of Myanmar, all are invited to participate in the discussions. It is also known to all that there are challenges to carry out these tasks.
To overcome these challenges, there are many issues to be successfully solved in long term and in short term in cooperation with the government and the national forces.
Despite political differences, all of us share the same desire to build Myanmar into a democratic state and it is sure that success will be achieved through cooperation of all. I always believe that success of the reform process already achieved is to be attributed to all political forces including the Hluttaws, political parties, Tatmadaw and the entire people. I would like to urge the participants to find out issues to be solved together with common goals during the meetings.
In spite of different viewpoints, opinions and standards for internal peace process, there are progresses and concerted efforts are being made for signing of nationwide ceasefire agreement by all as the NCA is vital to move forward to political dialogues which aims to build the union based on flourishing democracy and federalism. This also means creating favourable conditions for armed political forces to participate in the political process.
Peace-making efforts of our government are sincerely intended to lay a concrete foundation for the next governments in their attempts to sustain lasting peace.
Let me give a brief explanation on constitutional amendment. We always keep in mind that a State Constitution should be amended at an appropriate time. Ethnic people are calling for setting up a federal union and other democratization processes. Constitutional amendment will be based on the results of political dialogues and peace process in line with the 2008 State Constitution.
It will be a negligent act when amendment is made without observing legal procedures. Therefore, constitutional amendment must be carried out as per constitution. When we want to adopt a federal system, decentralization, power sharing and division of natural resources, we will have to consider the Principle of Progressive Realization which is being practiced in many countries.
The upcoming 2015 general elections will become a remarkable milestone in the history of Myanmar. All major political parties are expected to compete the elections. Therefore, these political forces are suggested to regard this election as a national duty to ensure free and fair elections which are important for a democratic foundation. And we, all together, need to strive for a prominent political transition after 2015 general elections.
This election will grant people a free and fair election, improvement of socio-economic lives through economic development resulting from genuine reform and political dialogues which are fundamentals for a lasting peace and federal Union.
We have seen many challenges in land ownership disputes, economic problems and social issues. There also remain some significant problems in education reform. We accept that the draft of the National Education Law is not totally perfect, and needs broader contributions of experts, teachers, students, civil society groups and ethnic groups. Therefore, all the political forces are responsible for a stable political situation during the transitional period.
As a wind-up remark, I want to conclude that the 2015 general elections will be a historical event which will pave a way for the future of the country. It is believed to bring about a democratic transition and peace. Therefore, all the political forces are urged for joining hands to overcome all the challenges.
At the end of President’s speech, the representatives of political forces discussed improvement of the reform process, political dialogues for national reconciliation that relies on peace-making process, smooth political transition and stability of politics in the country.
(A press release is reported separately.) MNA

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