Civil society to have bigger role in Myanmar

Yangon, Jan 21 (IANS) Myanmar President U Thein Sein has stressed the crucial role of civil society organizations in political development in the country, saying that the government is now trying to create a role for the civil society in the peace process, official media reported Monday.

Addressing community-based social organizations in Yangon Sunday, U Thein Sein said the Myanmar Peace Center is prepared to work with all relevant civil society partners in the peace process, pledging to continue the peace building until genuine peace is fully instituted in the country, reported Xinhua.

"The government is now doing everything it could to turn ceasefire agreements into political dialogue. My administration will avoid using piecemeal measures when dealing with ethnic problems but the means that will lead to lasting peace," he said.

The president vowed to institute a system that ensures equal rights among all ethnic groups and abide by the principles of non-disintegration of the union and perpetuation of sovereignty.

Acknowledging the civil society organizations are important forces in the state-building process, U Thein Sein said his government will relax the requirements for the registration of associations and restriction on their activities in order to enable political parties and civil society organizations to operate freely.

He encouraged the media to contribute to the democratization process by functioning responsibly since media freedom has been granted in accordance with democratic principles.

He also encouraged the civil society organizations to make positive contributions to the creation of national identity that is in line with the changes, political stability, economic growth and social harmony.

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