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Burma's Opposition Calls for Reconciliation - 2004-01-04


Burmese opposition has marked the anniversary of the country's independence from Britain by calling for reconciliation with the ruling military.

An estimated 300 members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party held a religious ceremony at a Buddhist monastery in Rangoon today (Sunday), marking Burma's 56th Independence Day.

The Associated Press quotes an NLD release as saying that national reconciliation and dialogue are necessary for the people of Burma to enjoy the fruits of democracy.

The opposition is enduring a harsh crackdown by Burma's ruling military. Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition leaders were detained and party offices shut down after the clash between NLD members and a pro-government mob in northern Burma on May 30th.

The Nobel Peace laureate remains under house arrest, despite calls for her release and sanctions by the United States and Europe.

Burma's military ruler, General Than Shwe, issued a statement today, calling for people's participation to successfully implementing a roadmap to democracy.

The statement was read at a government-organized ceremony in the capital. The general did not attend the event.

On Saturday, Burma's Prime Minister Khin Nyunt said the government was determined to implement its roadmap but that outside pressure would only serve to prolong the process.

Khin Nyunt announced in August a seven-point plan for democratic reform in Burma, outlining a path to national elections and a new government. He did not give a timeline for the reforms.

The NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990 but was never allowed to take power.

Information for this report is provided by Ap and AFP.

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