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Suu Kyi offers to mediate Myanmar dispute

Nov. 30, 2012 at 9:15 AM

MONYWA, Myanmar, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has offered to mediate a dispute between protesters and copper mine officials.

Security forces used tear gas and water cannons Thursday to disperse about 500 people camping out and demonstrating outside a copper mine project near Monywa since Nov. 17.

Protesters -- including a mixture of local residents, students and monks -- said they were concerned about the $1 billion project's environmental impact and the land that had been claimed for it.

Suu Kyi visited the mine and a hospital to see people who were injured in the altercation, Voice of America reported.

"I wish to find a peaceful resolution to the problem we are facing today at this copper mine project," she said at the mine. "It should be solved in the best interests of our people, by protecting our country's dignity and our future. I will try my best  to achieve this. Although I cannot guarantee whether I will succeed or not, I believe that if the people work together with me we can succeed."

The Myanmar government said shutting down the project would discourage much-needed foreign investment. The mine is a joint operation between a Chinese arms manufacturer and the Myanmar military, Voice of America said.

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