President visits Buddhist holy site in India

President Htin Kyaw has started a four-day visit to India.

The president is accompanied by his wife Su Su Lwin, Thura Aung Ko, minister of religious affairs and culture, Thant Sin Maung, transport and telecommunications minister, Thein Swe, labour and immigration minister, and Kyaw Tin, the deputy minister of foreign affairs.

The flew to Gaya airport in impoverished Bihar State and were met by ambassador to India and a Gaya District Magistrate.

Rebels still waiting for Panglong invite

The government is yet to invite the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Arakan Army (AA) to attend next week's Panglong conference, according to Colonel Tar Phone Kyaw, general secretary of the TNLA, on August 25.

“The TNLA is ready to participate in the 21st-century Panglong conference. But, there was no official invitation from the government,” said Tar Phone Kyaw.

USDP plays nationalist card on Annan commission

The Union Solidarity and Development Party issued a statement on August 25 criticising the formation of the advisory commission for Rakhine State ethnic tensions led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan. 

The State Counsellor's Office is due to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Kofi Annan Foundation soon to establish the study of Buddhist-Muslim tensions in Rakhine State. It should include two other foreigners and six Myanmar nationals. 

Annan probe only to make 'suggestions'

Deputy Director General of the President's Office Zaw Htay says the commission to be led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan on Rakhine State's ethnic tensions will only be able to make suggestions.

The Arakan National Party, National Democratic Force and Union Solidarity and Development Party have released statements objecting to the commission on Buddhist-Muslim tensions and demanded its cancellation. 

Unelected parties denounce exclusion from peace conference

Political parties with no seats in Myanmar’s national or regional parliaments have denounced the government's move to restrict their participation in the upcoming Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference. 

A meeting was held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Yangon yesterday with the aim of selecting five representatives from among 70 unelected political parties to participate in the peace conference.

Myanmar leaders welcome Indian minister of external affairs

President Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi separately met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on August 22 in Nay Pyi Taw, according to the President’s Office.

President Htin Kyaw received the Indian delegation led by Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in the afternoon at the Presidential Palace in the capital, the President’s Office announced.

Myanmar to hold by-election in early 2017

Myanmar is expected to hold a by-election in early 2017, said Aung Myint, a member of the Union Election Commission (UEC).

He spoke in response to a question posed by MP Sai Tun Aung from Shan State Constituency-2 in the Upper House on August 22. The MP asked whether there is a plan to hold an election in Shan State’s Monghsu and Kyethi townships, which were excluded from the 2015 general election for security reasons.

Chin CSOs prepare for peace conference

Chin civil society organisations gathered on Monday ahead of the 21st Century Panglong Conference at the New Ayer Hotel.

The meeting of CSOs will last three days and focused on the needs and wishes of Chin communities. Delegates from more than 100 organisations across the country attended the meeting.

Salai Par Lian, a member of the organising committee, said: “Ethnic minority groups are interested in the so-called 21st Century Panglong Conference. We will act as a mouthpiece for the Chin people at the conference.”

State Counsellor returns from China

Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and her goodwill delegation landed at Yangon International Airport via Kunming, China, after a goodwill visit to China.

At the invitation of Chinese Premier Mr Li Keqiang, Suu Kyi and her party visited China for five days. During her visit, she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and visited famous site, including Famen Temple, according to a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.