Myanmar Government urged to further consolidate peace and reconciliation

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister.

An upcoming peace conference in Myanmar has been hailed by the UN Secretary-General as a "promising first step" towards consolidating national reconciliation in the South-East Asian country.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking on Tuesday to the media in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, alongside State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate.

Her party, the National League for Democracy, won elections held in November 2015.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ban said he was honoured to be back in Myanmar to witness the latest phase in the country's transition.

The UN chief noted that Myanmar was moving on a path towards a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and prosperous democracy.

He commended the new Government for its emphasis on dialogue, cooperation and reconciliation.

But he noted that it faces great challenges.

"The steps you have taken towards peace and national reconciliation will need to be further strengthened, broadened and consolidated. This is the real expectation of the international community. In that regard, the Twenty-first Century Panglong Conference is a promising first step. I congratulate all participants for their patience, determination and spirit of compromise." 

The gathering is the first major peace conference to be held in Myanmar since the new Government assumed power in March. 

It opens in the capital on Wednesday. 

The UN chief also extended condolences to the people of Myanmar for the earthquake which struck last week, resulting in numerous deaths and the destruction of many historical structures. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 2’16″

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