President Arroyo offers suggestions to Myanmar

by Kobakila News

MANILA (Apr. 18) — Release political detainees including Aung San Suu Kyi, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urged Myanmar’s Prime Minister Thein Sein when the two leaders met at the 14th ASEAN Summit in Pattaya, Thailand on April 10 reports the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Suu Kyi, 64, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize honoree, is the charismatic leader of the National League for Democracy which she helped found in 1988 on her return to Myanmar from London. In the same year, General Newin, a long-time leader of the Socialist ruling party, stepped down from power. This led to mass demonstrations on the streets which was violently suppressed and the establishment of a new military junta

Almost a year later, in July 1989, Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. At a general election which the military junta called in 1990, she won decisively and would have been the Prime Minister. Instead, the results were nullified and the military refused to hand over the reins of the government spawning an international outcry of its action.

Despite diplomatic intervention by the United Nations on her behalf in 2008, the military stayed on its course and even extended her detention to another year, until May 2009.

According to the DFA, President Arroyo explained to Prime Minister Thein Sein that Philippines’ politics was similarly situated and that the country also has been preoccupied with opposition personalities vying for the people’s support.

“I have reached out to them in the spirit of reconiciliation and national unity, which has enabled our society and political system to move forward without giving undue importance to their political mystique,” she was quoted as saying to Prime MinisterThein Sein.

With Myanmar releasing Suu Kyi when the extension of her detention in May is completed, Myanmar would have made an important gesture towards national reconciliation efforts and result in a “tremendous goodwill for Myanmar from the international community.”

“As a neighbor of Myanmar, the Philippines has a deep sense of friendship with the people of Myanmar. We only have your country and your people’s welfare at heart. This is the single, most concrete piece of advice and experience I can share with you,” the DFA quoted President Arroyo as saying.

The DFA also said Prime Minister Thein Sein “expressed appreciation for the President’s valuable suggestions and said that his government would take them into account. He also reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the seven steps towards democratization and reconciliation.”

“The adoption of the new Constitution is the critical first step in fulfilling the government’s vision for democracy in Myanmar. We are now preparing for the general elections in 2010,” the Prime Minister was quoted by the DFA as saying.

“As a neighbor of Myanmar, the Philippines has a deep sense of friendship with the people of Myanmar. We only have your country and your people’s welfare at heart. This is the single, most concrete piece of advice and experience I can share with you,” the DFA reported the President as saying.

In response, Prime Minister Thein Sein expressed appreciation for the President’s valuable suggestions and said that his government would take them into account. He also reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the seven steps towards democratization and reconciliation.

“The adoption of the new Constitution is the critical first step in fulfilling the government’s vision for democracy in Myanmar. We are now preparing for the general elections in 2010,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister, according to DFA, added that Myanmar considers its cooperation with the United Nations as the cornerstone of its foreign policy, along with the desire to improve relations with the United States under the Obama administration.

Prime Minister Thein Sein had also extended an invitation to President Arroyo and her family to visit Myanmar.

Later, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo repeated the President’s call saying it is time for Myanmar to carry out its own ‘Roadmap for Democracy’ and release political detainees, including Suu Kyi.

“Fulfilling these commitments is long overdue,” he said. He added that it would be “a compelling act of goodwill and sincerity” if Myanmar could fulfill these commitments before the launching of the ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB).

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

X