Dam Suspension Signifies ‘Union Spirit’: Ethnic Parties
03 October 2011: Ethnic Brotherhood Parties, an informal coalition of five ethnic political parties, said they warmly welcomed the suspension of the construction of Myitsone dam, saying that such a move by the new Burmese administration signifies ‘Union Spirit.’
But the parties also expressed concerns that Naypyidaw has not taken similar concrete steps to address other pressing issues such as peace and national reconciliation and the release of political prisoners.
The construction of China-backed Myitsone dam on Burma’s largest and most important river Irrawaddy on the Kachin territory has sparked renewed civil war and huge public outrage in recent months.
The statement was issued after a meeting of top party leaders in the former capital Rangoon.
“We remain greatly concerned that armed conflicts continue to rage in ethnic areas,” the parties said. “At the same time we reiterate our call for the declaration of a cease-fire and to have a discussion on internal peace.”
The parties refer to their earlier statement on August 3 in which they urged President Thein Sein to convene a national workshop on peace that will involve all stakeholders, including direct parties of the conflict, as well as individual experts and ethnic party representatives.
They said that the urgency to address the issue of national reconciliation and release of political prisoners are equally just important as the need for Naypyidaw’s intervention to suspend the Myitsone dam on Friday.
“We call for the release of U Khun Htun Oo and ethnic political prisoners, as well as Min Ko Naing and all other political prisoners as soon as possible,” the parties urged.
The parties include the Chin National Party (CNP), Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the All Mon Region Democratic Party (AMRDP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), and the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP).