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U.N.'s Ban says Myanmar's progress fragile

Sept. 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Myanmar's progress could be undermined by its failure to address the root causes of conflict, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Myanmar in 2010 brought an end to military rule through general elections. Democratic reforms brought a level of international praise though concerns remain over the country's national security and human rights record.

Members of the international community convened on the sidelines of the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss Myanmar's future.

Ban told delegates Myanmar has made remarkable progress on the political front but gains made since 2010 are fragile.

"Much of this progress could be undermined if the threat of communal disturbances and violent confrontation between religious and ethnic groups is not addressed effectively including by looking at the root cause of the conflicts," he said in a statement Thursday.

Ban's comments were backed up by members of the peace committee The Elders, founded by anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in 2007.

Visiting members of the organization said Myanmar needs to take ownership of its own peace initiatives if it's to have any real expectations for the future.

"For Myanmar to reap the benefits of peace, careful attention will need to be given to how the factors underlying conflict are managed," former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari said from Myanmar's capital earlier this week.

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