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Civic society organisations, politicians and local people turned out to meet Burmese President Thein Sein in Myitkyina on Sunday for what they largely saw as a “peace mission”.
Accompanied by his military chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the president was greeted by a large crowd, many dressed in traditional Kachin costume, at the airport where the President made a speech in which he reiterated his quest for peace.
President said that a “ray of peace” was shining in Kachin State, and that following his talks with ethnic leaders in Rangoon, he believed the trust was in place to bring closer the signing of a nationwide ceasefire.
Kachin peace delegate Sant Aung, who met with Thein Sein, said he hoped the President would carry out his promises.
“He [Thein Sein] spoke about the reforms, which he said were clearly visible,” said Sant Aung. “What I like is that he said he is committed to implementing peace after more than 60 years of civil conflict. I hope he will carry out what he told the crowd he would.”
Kachin State Democracy Party chairman Dr. Tu Ja said he hoped the minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, who was in attendance, would visit refugees in border areas.
“Though they did not mention a visit to refugee camps, the minister of relief and welfare is with the delegation, so they should go,” he said. “They will then be able to witness the reality of Kachin State.”
U Geness, general staff officer for the Kachin State Red Cross, said he hoped that President would focus on development as well as the peace process.
“People are happy to see the President here,” he said. “Many came all the way to [Myitkyina] airport by themselves just to see him. The Kachin chief minister briefed him on the need for transportation, water supply, education and health. I hope the government can help us.”