Published on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 19:21
U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell plans to expand his peace-building initiatives after meeting representatives of ethnic Mon political parties and organizations in Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State, over the weekend.
Mitchell said that he would travel across the country to listen to people and observe local situation. He also described the country’s reforms as “on track” and “transparent”, and the media as “independent”.
Myanmar still has much to do to improve the situation of ethnic minorities, the ambassador said, stressing the need to resolve the conflict in Kachin through political dialogue.
The US embassy said the ambassador also visited Karen State to discuss a ceasefire between the government and armed ethnic groups. It was his first visit to both states.
In Mon State he met with leaders of the All Mon Regions Democracy Party, Mon Democracy Party and New Mon State Party, as well as peace groups, including Buddhist monks. They discussed how to build peace throughout Myanmar, including in the northern state of Kachin where the conflict between the government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has intensified.
Mitchell said he would brief the government about his discussions and that the American Center would reopen in Mon State’s capital.
He said the fighting in Kachin State would stop only if trust could be built between the two sides.
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