State Counsellor participates in Peace Talk with youths

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi participated in the Peace Talk with youths at Myanmar International Convention Centre (2) in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday afternoon.

First, the State Counsellor delivered a new year opening speech.

Following is the unofficial translation of the speech of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the Peace Talk.

I wish all residents of Myanmar including those who live in the countryside peace of mind and fulfilment of their wishes on the New Year occasion of 2017.

There will be many wishes among over 50 million people of Myanmar. It is the highest responsibility as well as a challenge of a government elected by the people to find out which wishes are vital and which wishes should be prioritized. It is also important to decide priorities and how to fulfil these wishes of priorities. Some people think means does not matter and what matters most is to achieve what they want. Some people think that it is important to reach the goal through any route. In my opinion, outcomes will be different from what people expect after the goal has been achieved if the route taken is wrong.  Only by going through the right route, we will be able to reach our desired goal straight.

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State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi talks to youths at the Peace Talk in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

In 2017, we first need to think is what will be given priority first of all. There are priorities we unveiled since the government was formed by the National League for Democracy, which was elected by the majority of people. One of the most important priorities is internal peace.  Internal peace and improvement of lives of the people are our two priorities. The two priorities are interrelated. Only when our country is peaceful, lives of the people will improve. Only when lives of the people improve, peace can be maintained. Therefore, we set these priorities as our most important goal.

Now I will report the work of government ministries during the one year period since our government was formed earlier this year and plans to overcome challenges we faced during the one year period. One of our priorities which I myself take responsibility is internal peace.  Soon after the government have been formed in May, we started to try to organize the Second Panglong Peace Conference. It was necessary to take many steps to organize the peace conference. One of the steps was nationwide ceasefire. Only when ceasefire has been maintained, we can achieve real peace. Peace cannot be restored while fighting. Real peace can be achieved only through dialogues. Any organization in the history of the world finally had to seek solutions through dialogues however hard they had fought in many battles. It is necessary to seek solution through at the table.

Today, at the beginning of 2017, I decided that I want to talk about peace. Talking about peace means not just dialogues between the government and ethnic armed groups and it also refers to talking about peace with the people. In order to allow all the people to participate in the peace process, it is necessary for us to know how people view peace and what goal they set for addressing the challenges and problems. It is a process that can be achieved all the people who join hands. I had to think who I would first talk about peace to as there are many citizens of different social strata and different ethnic groups and different points of view in Myanmar. For whom is peace most important and find that it is of utmost importance for youth. This is because they are the people who are heading to a time to shoulder their duties for a long time in the future. Adults are people who will have to lay down their duties soon in accordance with the law of impermanence. So it is immensely important for us to know the points of view of youths who are going to take charge of their duties. To be honest, I wanted to talk to younger youths than you but I thought it would not be convenient to talk with younger youth first and started talking to youths. In the future, I want to talk to younger youths with an age limit. I want to talk to business people. Only then, we will be able to know their points of view on politics and peace. We will be able to discuss how they can contribute to peace. For example, we have planned to discuss how education sector can contribute to the peace process with civil society organizations, some of which are engaged in women affairs, and civil society organizations that specialize in education for women. By doing so, all citizens will feel that they also own the peace process. That is the ownership of the process. It is a very important term in politics. Our peace process is owned by the entire country. It is our responsibility to share the ownership of the peace process with all the people. Ownership does not mean that one can do whatever one want to with the process. It means that everyone has responsibility for the ownership of the process and everyone will benefit from the process. To enjoy benefits, everyone has responsibility to try hard.

In fact, we all encouraged one another to work hard at the beginning of a new year. We all send best wishes. Although making best wishes is easy, fulfilment of them is difficult. For a wish to be fulfilled, it is important that the outcome of the wish is good. I send wishes that are beneficial are fulfilled.

The fulfillment of hope at times begot grief and anxiety instead of bringing about joys and happiness. Therefore, we should pay serious attention to what we want or what we need for our country and what kind of a country do we want to live. And we should choose what kind of a country we want to build for posteriors. Such expectation can only be fulfilled through long-term plans, as a five-year short-term plan could not attend to all the needs.

When discussing with 18 youths in attendance, some questions online are considered to answer but it depends on time available. The 18 youths could not fully represent all of youth organizations let alone the youths in the entire country. Their statements are not very much different in meaning. The meeting is simply meant to exhibit a number of common issues in our country, and it is hoped that ideas, concerns, expectations and anxieties expressed by the 18 youths will be the same as that experienced by a majority of youths. And we want their common feelings make them a much more unity.

            This morning saw the opening of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, sending a warning message to the public that peace and national reconciliation cannot be separated. Peace does not only mean ceasefire but it should make all of us to be on friendly terms. Whatever it is, the main objective is to bridge the differences among us, which beget conflicts. With this, we hoped that all are to participate in getting rid of the differences.

We never gave promises that we could not keep. As the promises given are just simple, we were able to keep it. We are trying our best to keep all the promises given. The important thing is mutual trust, and without it we could not move forward. Breach of promises leads to failure. Therefore, our government came into office in a righteous and transparent manner, with no impossible promises. During the nine-month tenure in office, we did not break any promises already given to the public. Nine months into the office, our administration witnessed what that could not be fulfilled but gained achievement beyond expectation, which are all a generalized phenomenon. When meeting with foreign diplomats from countries that experienced democratization, they said the progress we made in a period of nine months were encouraging, for it took time, as per their experiences, to make such an extent of progress in a transitional period. We felt encouraged by their words but should not be complacent about it. We will move forward with determination to exert more efforts. In conclusion, I would like to pledge that our administration will be characterized by transparency and responsibility, which are a fundamental backbone of a good government.

Then, participants youths exchanged their views on trust building for peace, delegation of more authorities to states and regions, promotion of the Union Spirit, unity in diversity, elimination of trauma caused by the civil war, governance  under  people-centred laws, participation of youth in the peace process and assistance for victims who lost limbs due to the civil war.

After the discussions, the youth presented a bouquet to the State Counsellor who later posed for documentary photos with the youths.

Sixteen youth representing states and regions, one representing persons with disability and one representing women, union ministers, deputy ministers and members of the Peace Commission attended the talk show. Myanmar News Agency (Unofficial Translation)

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