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Union Day Messages by Burmese Military Government and Opposition - 2003-02-12


Burma's military government has used the country's Union Day anniversary to call for unity among ethnic minorities and to warn against what it calls "destructive elements."

In his Union Day message, Burmese military leader General Than Shwe said the country must bring together ethnic groups to promote peace and unity.

He also warned the Burmese people to remain vigilant against what he called "destructive elements" that want to destroy national solidarity. He did not elaborate on what those elements are.

In a separate ceremony, pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi again called for a dialogue between the military government and her National League for Democracy party The two sides began reconciliation talks in 2000, but no major progress has been reported.

Union Day celebrates the 1947 agreement between Aung San Suu Kyi's father, General Aung San, and ethnic leaders to resist British imperialists.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AP.

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