Ethnic groups meet Speakers

Ethnic armed leaders met the Speakers of the Union Parliament and Upper House at the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 in Nay Pyi Taw after four of the 13 groups signed a deal to continue democratic reforms and form a federal union. 

Speaker of the Union Parliament Thura Shwe Mann said: “If we can’t build peace, the military will face difficulties. Today, the legislature meets the ethnic armed groups. Although it is for a short time, I believe our destination will be reached if we open our minds honestly to each other.”

He said sections of the 2008 Constitution had to be amended for the sake of peace, national reconciliation and unity. 

He said: “Parliament’s approval is not essential. The main barrier is the debate in the Union Parliament about constitutional amendment. It has been two years. We need to set aims for constitutional amendments. The aims might be development, peace, reconciliation and unity and a federal-democratic state. The Constitution was enforced recently but it needs to be amended.”

Khin Aung Myint, the Speaker of the Upper House, said: “Constitutional amendment is one of the important topics discussed by Parliament. Amending the Constitution could bring peace. The government is trying to get peace. There will be a ceasefire and then there will be political talks. After that we should push for constitutional amendment. We want political dialogue as soon as possible because nationwide referendums can’t be held frequently. It is a big job.”

The Wa representative Aung Myint said “We do not have good transport networks or economic development since we are near the China border. Most of us do not speak Myanmar’s language. We have to rely on China for trade. That’s why we can’t speak the language. We had to report to our headquarters first so we couldn’t sign yesterday.”