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Dialogue necessary before 2010 elections

Apr 30, 2009 (DVB), If the Burmese government releases all political prisoners and holds dialogue without preconditions with opposition groups then Burma's main opposition party will contest the 2010 elections, said a statement yesterday.

Following a plenary meeting on Tuesday between senior officials of the National League for Democracy, whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest, a statement was released outlining conditions under which the NLD would participate in the elections next year.

The so-called Shwegondaing statement also emphasized that dialogue without precondition between senior government officials and NLD members was the key to resolving Burma's political problems.

"The NLD has a big role in solving the problems the country is currently facing – the release of political prisoners, the amendment of the constitution, the recognition of the 1990 election result, and the holding of dialogue," said Ohn Kyaing, a member of the NLD central information committee.

"These are problems that need sorting out now, but dialogue is the main thing."

He added, however, that dialogue would have to take place without preconditions, and that any discussion should include the provision of equal opportunities for the ethnic nationalities.

Critics have said the draft constitution, ratified by the government last year in the weeks following cyclone Nargis, guarantees entrenchment of military rule.

The plenary meeting was attended by over 150 party organizers, members of parliament, and central executive committee members.

Diplomats from countries such as United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy also attended.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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