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Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi continued to call for dialogue between herself, the government and other major political players despite the abrupt cancellation of a scheduled meeting on constitutional reform set for Friday in Naypyidaw.
Speaking at a press conference, she said, “We want to address the concerns of those who insist there is no need to amend the Constitution. That is why we proposed the sexpartite talks. We want to identify their concerns and ask which articles they do not wish to amend.
“We aim to exchange points of view to clarify these concerns, and find common ground where we can reach a mutual agreement. That’s why we believe dialogue is necessary.”
The National League for Democracy chairperson also told reporters: “As for dialogue, the quicker it happens, the better it will be for the people. The slower [the process takes], the more people will suffer. I cannot comprehend at all why the government does not want to engage in dialogue, because a dialogue is not a competition for victory over one another.”
She added that one should not enter into dialogue as a way of winning, but to do what is best for the country.
The cancelled meeting was scheduled to bring together Suu Kyi, President Thein Sein, military Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, house speakers Shwe Mann and Khin Aung Myint, and Arakanese politician Aye Maung as a representative of ethnic political parties.
On Thursday, Burma’s Information minister Ye Htut appeared to signal the government’s unwillingness to sit for negotiations on the Constitution with Suu Kyi, deeming the proposed six-way talks “impractical”, according to a reported interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA).
“From our point of view, I don’t think it [constitutional dialogue] can happen at this time as there are significant differences in our ways of approach,” he was reported saying on RFA Burmese. “The standpoint of our approach is institution-wise and the approach considered by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the parliament is based on individuals. And at the meeting yesterday, it was said that it would be impossible to appoint just one representative for all ethnic parties because Burma has such a diverse range of ethnicities, and that the appointment should not be made by parliament but by the ethnic parties themselves. So based upon these points, we think the idea of the sexpartite dialogue is not quite close to reality.”