Thursday, May 25, 2017

Opening speech of U Than Htay at Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session)

 May 24, 2017
Following is a brief of the opening speech delivered by U Than Htay, Chairman, Union Solidarity and Development Party at the opening ceremony of  the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong (Second Session).

Today’s Union Peace Conference is the result of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Nationwide Ceasefire Coordinating Team (NCCT) representing 16 armed ethnic organizations met with government’s UPWC about 30 times in 17 months and NCA Single Text (draft) could be signed in the presence of the President on 31 March 2015. After stages of discussion and negotiation, NCA was finally agreed on 7 August 2015 and leaders of 8 armed ethnic organizations signed the NCA at Nay Pyi Taw in the presence of foreign and local witnesses on 15 October 2015. It is not the right way to talk peace while fighting according to the saying “you can enter my hut if you want to talk with me but leave your sword outside the hut”. It is absolute necessity to stop fighting and follow the NCA track to work out for peace. It is to be noted further that ceasefire is not disarming or surrendering. Both sides must not pressure the other with fighting while discussing at the table. Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) is a good establishment that will monitor and resolve any outbreak of hostility due to misunderstanding and insufficient exchange of information at the lower level and thus all should follow and abide by the NCA. Deviating from the NCA and prioritizing the will of own organization will make the peace desired by the people unreachable and far off.

In the first Union Peace Conference of 12-16, January 2016, 7 groups discussed 5 main sectors and the main discussions, which were suggestions and not decisions, were transferred to the  Vice President.
During the meeting of 31 August to 2 September 2016, people heard of discussions that include matters that are against unity and the three main causes outlined in the NCA and people were concerned for peace as well as future of the union.

The three main causes had been specified since the Tatmadaw government period. It is for the national cause and is not Tatmadaw, or SLORC or SPDC propaganda. Viewed objectively without any personal and organizational attachments, the three main causes can be seen as the truth of the union. Do you want your country to go into disintegration, Fight to the end to wipe out other ethnics? Hand over the sovereignty to those who are alien to this land?

It can be seen that the three main causes are not propaganda but a necessity that will benefit the union and people regardless of whoever is the leader and the government.

The present conference, discussing on the 5 suggested main sectors confirmed by UPDJC will result in an outcome that will start implementing the dream of establishing a federal union and on behalf of political parties, we like to express our happiness for the peace process in Myanmar.

After this event, representatives of the people from different places of the country will start discussion expressing their views and beliefs. Discussion must be based on equality without any hint of bullying and commanding. Search for the possible and achievable between what is actually happening and what is wanted.

State and region constitutions drawn should be consistent with the  Constitution. There mustn’t be any deviation or difference. USA, Australia, Germany and Switzerland grant self-determination to states, regions, landers and cantons but the state constitution does not deviate or differ from the Constitution. The constitutions of the 50 states of America are in accordance with the constitution of the United States of America.

The main aim of this conference is national reconciliation, stopping the conflicts and forging the unity. While aiming for this, there shouldn’t be any thought of secession. Of the more than 190 constitutions of the countries in the world, only the constitution of the Soviet Union and Myanmar constitution of 1947 had clauses allowing the secession. That is why Soviet Union was split into small countries and despite the abolishing of the 1947 constitution with new constitution, it is to be noted that there were still some demand for secession.

It is to be noted that we are neighboring two highly populated nations, far stronger in military, economy and technology than our country. We need to be stronger and it is strength that we must aim for instead of weakening ourselves.

According to the latest census we have many different races and ethnics. It is not possible to determine which race and ethnic are to be included or excluded. This is to be noted.

Today’s conflicts are not the result of lack of equality, oppression of difference, being federal or not as ordinary people think. It is the result of geographical and historical near and far causes. As such, it is a far-fetch dream to stop conflict and achieve peace at set-time like within a year or within a government term. A timetable is not important. Love for the union, unity, and sovereignty of the nation must be in everyone’s heart and mind. The union and the people of the union, in other word, everyone attending the conference, must have in their mind and heart the non-disintegration of the union, unity of the nationals and sovereignty of the nation in order to achieve the peace in the union. Only when there is peace will we get the fruits and benefits of a democracy.
Myanmar News Agency  (Unofficial Translation)

Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar

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