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Published on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 16:07
President Thein Sein will follow his ground-breaking meeting with about 90 civil society groups last Sunday by meeting with unions leaders representing farmers and workers, Presidential Office Minister Soe Thein said.
The meeting with union representatives was planned before Sunday’s meeting, Soe Thein said.
Thein Sein’s attempt to woo civil society groups was not a one-off affair as invitations have been made to groups that could not attend Sunday’s meeting to directly contact Presidential Office ministers Aung Min and Tin Naing Thein with any concerns or proposals, Soe Thein said. Their concerns will be forwarded to the president, he added.
During Sunday’s meeting Thein Sein said he needed ongoing contact with civil society groups and pledged to ensure that they had access to relevant ministries in order to ensure they could work effectively. His overture to civil society also included assurance that his government would pay close attention to the views of civil society groups.
Soe Thein added more praise for the importance of civil society in achieving democracy, saying it was only when it expanded its role that the shift to democracy accelerated in other nations such as South Korea and Indonesia. It took the former 15 years and the later a decade to make the shift from dictatorship to democracy, he said.
Myanmar’s reformist government had only been in power for one year and nine months, Soe Thein said.
Sunday’s landmark meeting included representatives from the 88 Generation Students Group, the Kachin Peace Network and the Nyein Foundation. The government has said it will increase assistance to civil society groups, including help with registration fees.