Burma (update)

Not too many days ago God put Burma on my heart. The word was posted and many of you prayed. Within just a few days there was a major destiny changing event in Burma. We posted that update. This is the latest UPDATE with many new remarkable changes taking place in that nation. Last week the USA reestablished diplomatic relations with Burma after many years. thanks for your prayers. Your helping shape the destinies of people and nations.

Key US Senator Hails Burmese Reforms

Posted Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 12:15 pm
A key U.S. senator and backer of Burma’s democracy movement says he is impressed with reforms initiated by the country’s new, nominally civilian government, but says more needs to be done.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican minority leader, spoke Monday, after meeting for more than an hour in Rangoon with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“”The United States has been very impressed with the changes that are occurring. I am also convinced based on our conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi that these are real changes and the country is heading in the right direction.”
McConnell is the latest in a string of prominent Westerners to visit Burma. Monday, McConnell said he looked forward to Burmese by-elections later this year as a key condition for lifting U.S. economic sanctions.
”We also look forward to a free and fair election, a by-election on April 1st, and in the wake of that, I think it would be appropriate for us to further consider in the United States, the various sanctions that we have in place and the appropriateness of continuing those.”
Burmese President Thein Sein last week ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners, many of them democracy advocates jailed by the former junta.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the prisoner release “a substantial step forward for democratic reform.”
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described Friday’s prisoner release as the most significant to date because it included a number of key, prominent political figures able to contribute to national reconciliation.
Burmese state media said the detainees were freed under an amnesty ordered by President Thein Sein to foster national reconciliation.

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Burma Signs Cease-Fire with Karen Rebel Group

Posted Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
The Burmese government has signed a cease-fire with the ethnic Karen rebel group, in an apparent move toward ending one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies and meeting a key condition for improved ties with the West.
In a separate development, Burmese state media reported the governement will release 651 prisoners under a presidential pardon, beginning Friday. It was not clear how many political prisoners would be included in the release.
The government and rebels signed their cease-fire Thursday after a series of meetings in Pa-an, the capital of Karen state in southeast Burma. The agreement marks the first declared break in fighting between the government and the rebel force since just after the country gained independence from Britain in 1948.
Details were not immediately disclosed. However in Washington, State Department Victoria Nuland welcomed the agreement as an important step toward national reconciliation.
“We do welcome the news of an agreement on a ceasefire between the government of Burma and the Karen National Union. We have long called on Burmese authorities to halt hostilities in the ethnic areas and begin an inclusive dialogue with the ethnic minority groups towards national reconciliation. This was a central topic in the Secretary’s meetings when she was in Burma back in the Fall, and she emphasized the importance of making progress of national reconciliation. So this is a good step and we welcome it.”
Talks between the government and Karen National Union leaders intensified last year, as the new, nominally-civilian government publicly offered the possibility of reconciliation with a myriad of ethnic groupings.
The rapprochement gained momentum in November when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Southeast Asian nation. She said such truces with ethnic groups would help pave the way for a deal with Washington to ease economic sanctions imposed on Burma during decades of military rule.
Karen leaders say years of government aggression have subjected their people to human rights abuses that include forced labor, looting, extortion and destruction of property. Thousands of villagers have been forced to flee to escape the fighting, with many of them currently living in refugee encampments just across the Thai border.
Burma’s long-reigning military junta, which stepped aside last year, justified its crackdown as a way of maintaining stability and unity.
The government in December signed a preliminary cease-fire with another key ethnic grouping, the Shan State Army. It has also reached cease-fire deals with several other ethnic groups, but tensions remain with various other factions. Additionally, it has released about 200 of more than 1,000 political prisoners jailed by the junta and thought to be languishing in Burmese prisons.
Since coming to power in 2010, the government has also unveiled, for the first time, new peace proposals to rebel groups that call for cease-fires followed by development assistance and a national conference to discuss political grievances.
Tags: Burma, Nd, Rebels, Upd, V
Posted in East Asia Pacific