Peace Process in Myanmar Hinges on Relationship Between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Military

ICC Note: The peace talks in Myanmar to resolve ongoing military conflicts with ethnic militias, including the Christian-majority Kachin, have been hindered by the collapsed relationship between Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

07/13/2018 Myanmar (UCA News) – With Myanmar’s internationally beleaguered civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi convening her latest efforts for national peace in the next round of the 21st Century Panlong Peace Conference in Yangon from July 11, the fragile relationship between the leaders of Myanmar’s civilian and military leadership who jointly run the country has effectively collapsed.

Indeed, Suu Kyi and her advisers met the leader of the military, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, and other top military brass on June 8 for the first time in at least a year.

This preceded a nine-day visit by the new U.N. special envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, who met the two leaders separately after she arrived on June 12 and who has considerable experience in the region.

The military is very much the senior player in the relationship and the deterioration in already fragile ties has been due to the military’s ethnic cleansing/genocide of the Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State. But media reports claiming Suu Kyi has “overseen” this monstrosity are ill informed.

Without any resolution to the crisis taking place in Rakhine, as well as the ongoing and recently escalated civil war in northern Kachin State, all statements and promises from armed groups about national peace amount to nothing.

Still, the conference has promised it will work on formulating new principles to establish a federal union, which has long been sought by states with large ethnic populations.

The term “Panglong” refers to a process that was started but never finished by Suu Kyi’s late father Aung San, also the father of modern Myanmar, who was murdered by his rivals just six months before the country gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

The problems between the two sides of Myanmar’s current government that are now being writ large in Rakhine and Kachin were effectively set in place when the restrictive 2008 constitution was passed by a dubious public vote held in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Nargis.

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