Myanmar on promising path towards democratization, UN chief tells landmark conference

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Myanmar's State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi address the media at a joint press briefing. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

A "historic" peace conference in Myanmar has brought together the country's different ethnic groups, the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at the opening of the 21st Century Panglong Conference in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was under military rule for five decades.

It has been on the path to democratic reform and national reconciliation since 2008.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ban described the conference as "a historic occasion" for the further democratization of the South-East Asian country.

And while the road ahead is long, he said "the path is very promising."

The conference was opened by Myanmar's State Counsellor and Foreign Minister, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her party, the National League for Democracy, assumed power in March.

Here's the UN Secretary-General:

"I urge all of you, as you walk along this path with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to demonstrate the wisdom needed to address complex and unresolved issues, and to pave the way for a unified negotiation track that is inclusive of all interests and constituencies."

Mr Ban asked participants to accept that no party involved in the reconciliation process can expect to achieve all its aims.

Conversely, he said, "every side must win something if the process is to succeed."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'02"

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