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Ethnic groups welcome Indian PM's comments

Nov 22, 2007 (DVB), Representatives of the Chin National Front and the Arakan Liberation Party have welcomed comments by the Indian prime minister calling for ethnic parties to be involved in dialogue in Burma.

Manmohan Singh spoke to Thein Sein, the Burmese prime minister, in Singapore, where he was attending the East Asia Summit.

A spokesperson for the Indian prime minister said in a press conference that Manmohan Singh had stressed the importance of including ethnic nationalities in the country's efforts towards national reconciliation.

”The prime minister conveyed India’s position that the reform process should be broad based and include Aung San Suu Kyi and various ethnic nationalities and that it should be carried forward expeditiously towards a satisfactory solution,” the spokesperson said.

Ph Htang Cin, the general secretary of the Chin National Front, agreed with Manmohan Singh's sentiments.

"We believe the political matters in Burma could be solved via a tripartite dialogue. The recent urging of the Indian prime minister on the Burma junta is very encouraging for us," he said.

The general secretary of the Arakan Liberation Party, Major Khine Myo Min, also welcomed the comments.

"We have never heard this kind of thing from India before. We heartily welcome the Indian prime minister’s remark on Burma saying it is necessary to include all the ethnic parties in solving Burma’s problems," he said.

"The basis of Burma’s problems is the argument for democracy and this is directly related to the ethnic issues."

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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