Giving priority to the development of ethnic people and ethnic areas is essential to achieve national reconciliation and unity, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told a forum in Nay Pyi Taw on January 18.
The State Counsellor made the comment in a speech given on her behalf by Mon State’s Minister of Pa-O Ethnic Affairs, Nan San Wint Khine, at the opening of the two-day Ethnic Sustainable Development Forum.
“Only when we give priority to development of ethnic people and ethnic areas, can national reconciliation and unity of the Union be achieved with pragmatic fruit of development,” Aung San Suu Kyi said.
The government was striving with ethnic brethren to achieve national reconciliation and lasting peace, she said, referring to the negotiations being conducted as part of the peace process.
In an opening speech, Vice President U Henry Van Thio affirmed the government’s commitment to infrastructure projects, including in transport and electricity, which would improve the lives of ethnic nationals.
The event, the first of its kind, was also addressed by the Union Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Nai Thet Lwin, who spoke of the importance of meeting the basic needs of ethnic national farmers, workers, women and children.
The Ministry of Ethnic Affairs, which hosted the forum, was created by the National League for Democracy government to promote national unity among the country’s 135 officially recognized ethnic groups.