The Myanmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) should realise that the patience of the international community is running out at the glacial pace of its national reconciliation talks with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the people in ASEAN and the world want to see more concrete and positive outcome from the year-long talks.
From all accounts, the “historic dialogue” started in October last year has virtually reached a standstill, bogged down on two issues, the freeing of political prisoners and the re-opening of NLD branch offices around the country, while the ultimate objective of ushering in democracy and forming a civilian government had hardly been broached.
Razali must be commended for securing the “breakthough” in getting the “historic dialogue” started, but the glacial pace of the face-to-face talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the military junta without any concrete results in the restoration of democracy is completely unacceptable.
Razali should convince the SPDC to abandon its atittude that the secret talks is a “timeless process” which can only reinforce regional and international suspicion that the Myanmese military junta is just playing games and not serious about national reconciliation.
More is expected of the SPDC than the release of nearly 200 political prisoners from jail since the beginning of the year and the re-opening of 25 of the 40 original NLD branch offices in Rangoon, in addition to their Mandalay headquarters and two other township offices.
As a gesture that the SPDC is fully attuned to regional and international wishes about meaningful progress in the “historic dialogue” and its appreciation of the importance of bringing the country back into the mainstream of international society and development, it should immediately and fully release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest as a first significant step to move away from the year-long glacial pace of national reconciliation talks.
This should be followed up with concrete steps towards national reconciliation, democracy and respect for the human rights of all the peoples of Burma/Myanmar with a road map and time-table for the restoration of democracy and the return of a civilian government.