Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi meets Karen rebels
Apr 8, 2012, 7:53 GMT
Yangon - Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi met Sunday with leaders of the six-decades-old Karen insurgency with whom she said she shared a common vision for achieving peace.
'We share the same vision for achieving true peace,' Suu Kyi said after two hour talks with Karen National Union (KNU) general secretary Zipporah Sein, also a woman, at Suu Kyi family compound in Yangon.
Zipporah came to Yangon for the first time on Friday to continue peace talks with the Myanmar government to find a political solution to end their insurgency which began in 1948.
The negotitations concluded with an agreement to seek a comphensive ceasefire among all insurgency groups and to cooperate in the resettlement of tens of thousands of Karens displaced by fighting over the past two decades and to start demining the Karen State.
On Saturday, Zipporah and her delegation were flown on a special flight to Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon, for talks with President Thein Sein, another first for the rebel group which has waged a 64-year-old struggle against the central government for self-rule in their homeland in eastern Myanmar.
'I'm very happy to have met with all of you and Daw Su (Madame Suu Kyi),' Zipporah said after the talks with Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democrcay (NLD) party.
'We have discussed the main things that must be done for true peace to happen,' she added.
One of the things the ethnic minority groups and Suu Kyi agreed on is the need of an amendment to the 2010 constitution to grant ethnic minorities a measure of self rule in their traditional states.
Suu Kyi is now an elected member of parliamnet, having won a seat in the April 1 by-election, along with 42 NLD members.
She is expected to play a role in reaching a sustainable peace between the government and some 11 ethnic minority insurgencies.
A peaceful solution to Myanmar's rebellions is one of the conditions Western democracies have set to normalize relations with the once-pariah state because of its abysmal human rights record, much of it earned by the military for their brutal treatment of ethnic minorities who make up more than 30 per cent of Myanmar's population.
Read more about Myanmar Conflict