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United States Ambassador Tells Mon Leaders to Maintain Political Tolerance
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United States Ambassador Tells Mon Leaders to Maintain Political Tolerance

Kaowao
Thursday, January 17, 2013

During a meeting in Moulmein on Saturday, United States Ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell told ethnic Mon leaders to maintain political tolerance, which will lead to Burmese federalism and ethnic people having more autonomous rights.

United States Ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell met Mon leaders in Moulmein. (Photo: US Embassy in Rangoon)

Ethnic Mon leaders have doubted the ongoing peace process under reformist Burmese President Thein Sein, during which government troops have continued to assault the main base of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Laiza with artillery strikes despite Burmese ethnic leaders demanding that all fighting stop.

Nai Ngwe Thein, the chairman of the All Mon Regions for Democracy Party (AMDP) who met Ambassador Mitchell on Saturday, related the meeting to Kaowao: “He told us to maintain our political tolerance because Burma will one day have a federal system that will grant some rights for the ethnic people.”

Chairman Nai Ngwe Thein added that if the government troops do not stop fighting KIA troops in Kachin State, the peace process cannot precede because too much doubt in the Burmese government will exist in the ethnic states.

The AMDP was joined by the New Mon State Party (NMSP), Mon Democracy Party and select senior Mon Buddhist monks at the meeting with Ambassador Mitchell in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State.

Nai Tala Nyi, an executive member from the NMSP who met with the ambassador, offered his opinion: “I told him that we want the United States to help in whatever form available to stop the government’s ongoing fighting in Kachin State.”

During the meeting, Ambassador Mitchell asked Mon leaders about the peace process between the ethnic Mon community and the government, and Nai Tala Nyi told the ambassador that his NMSP wants to engage the government in political talks.

“He told us that he will approach the government with regards to our request to have political dialogue in the near future,” said Nai Tala Nyi.

The NMSP has asked the government to engage in political dialogue with all the ethnic armed groups in order to solve the ongoing political conflict in Burma, but the government has continued to ignore this request, along with similar ones from other ethnic armed groups.

Early last year, the Burmese government spoke about holding a conference to let all the ethnic armed groups and political leaders offer their intentions for ethnic reconciliation and solutions for political conflict. As the assault on Kachin State escalates, the government has maintained a quiet role, resulting in more ethnic armed groups developing doubts about the government’s approach to the ethnic peace process.

 

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