National League for Democracy (NLD) Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the Karen National Union (KNU) to join with her in pushing for constitutional amendments.
Speaking at Suu Kyi’s lakeside home in Rangoon on 9 May, the Burmese opposition leader addressed a delegation of KNU representatives headed by Vice-chairperson Zipporah Sein. According to Pado Saw Thamein Tun, a KNU delegate who attended the meeting, Suu Kyi asked the KNU leadership to focus its efforts on amending the 2008 Constitution and enforcing rule of law in Burma.
Suu Kyi allegedly referred to the ongoing peace talks between the KNU, other ethnic armed groups and the Burmese government, saying that constitutional reform would bolster the peace process.
“She asked that we focus on rule of law issues,” said Pado Saw Thamein Tun, “and reiterated that the Constitution would need to be amended in order to allow true political dialogue to take place; otherwise we would face constraints.
“She went on to advise us to focus on dialogue during the peace talks rather than the development programs,” he said.
Zipporah Sein has been leading a KNU team recently on a tour of ethnic groups and stakeholders in the peace process, including a visit to the Panghsang headquarters of the United Wa State Army and discussions with ethnic Karens in the Irrawaddy Delta.
The Karen delegation also met leaders from the 88 Generation group and sat for talks with Khun Htun Oo of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy. The KNU said it had reached agreements at both meetings to work together to achieve a nationwide ceasefire and to collaborate on proposing amendments to the Constitution.