by Salai Pi Pi
Thursday, 12 February 2009 22:42
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burma’s government in exile – the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma – today urged the ruling military junta to immediately begin a tripartite dialogue with the opposition party and the ethnic nationalities in order to build a genuine federal state.
Dr. Tint Swe, Information Minister of NCGUB, during Burma’s 62nd Union Day celebrations held in New Delhi, said a tripartite dialogue between the ruling regime, Burma’s main opposition party – the National League for Democracy – and leaders of ethnic nationalities was the only way to revive the spirit of the Union Day and build a federal union.
“The role of ethnics is essential to form a federal Union of Burma,” Dr. Tint Swe told Mizzima.
On Thursday, more than a hundred Burmese pro-democracy activists in New Delhi held celebrations to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Union Day. Speeches, felicitations and cultural dances were performed to depict unity in diversity, which the founding fathers of the ‘Union Day’ had envisaged.
Nearly a year before Burma gained independence from the British colonial rulers, on February 12, 1947, General Aung San, who is regarded as the architect of Burma’s independence, along with leaders of ethnic Chin, Kachin and Shan came together at a conference in Panglong town of Shan state to sign the historic ‘Panglong’ Agreement.
In Burma’s history, the day came to be known as Union Day, and has always been annually observed as a state holiday. But the essence of the agreement, however, deteriorated after the assassination of General Aung San on July 19, 1947.
Burma gained independence on January 4, 1948, and with General Aung San already assassinated, ethnic leaders said they had been betrayed and the Panglong Agreement was never honoured.
Dr. Tint Swe said the spirit of the Panglong Agreement disappeared as the country came under military dictators, who led the country under a unitary system.
“The spirit of the Panglong Agreement has disappeared in Burma,” said Dr. Tint Swe, adding that the NCGUB and ethnic leaders were under no illusion that the government to be formed by the military junta, through its Constitution approved in May 2008, would bring back the spirit of the Union.
He said, the only way to bring back the spirit of the union was to start a tripartite dialogue and that should be the objective of the movement.
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