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Residents demand suspension of gas pipeline

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Local residents from four States and Divisions through which the Kyaukphyu-Kunming gas pipeline traverses have told Mizzima they want the transport of gas suspended until an acceptable peace is worked out between ethnic armed groups and the government.

The sentiment was related to Mizzima during a press conference held at the Royal Rose Hall in Yangon on September 30.

Win Aung, leader of Shwe Gas Movement and author of the report ‘Shwe Gas Movement Report’, said,’“The government has not done anything despite of our repeated requests.So, we demand use of the pipeline [begins] only after new amendments for power and resource sharing between regional and union levels of government under the constitution.”

He continued, “To reach this stage, agreements for peace with ethnic armed groups must first be set up. Wars between the government and ethnic armed groups have been breaking out because of the  desire of local residents to enjoy the benefits of natural resources extracted from their territories.”

Mai La Mai, a representative of the ethnic Ta’ang from near Lashio in Shan State, said, “There are four ethnic armies in our area where the gas pipeline passes. Frequent battles in this area might cause a bad impact on the security of this pipeline. So, suspension of the release of gas [is vital for] achieving internal peace and is a prerequisite and must for us.”

The report of the Shwe Gas Movement requests authorities to fulfill the needs of residents and solve problems being faced by ethnic nationalities who live in regions where the pipeline crosses.

Myint Soe, representing Nga Phe Township, Magwe Division - another area impacted by the pipeline - commented, “The [national] government cannot settle our requirements and demands. We hope that our regional government, which clearly understands our grievances, can settle our losses and grievances when they get authority to do so.”

The Shwe Gas Movement report will be forwarded to Myanmar President Thein Sein, as well as all houses of parliament and companies which are involved in the implementation of the project.

The four states and divisions through which the Kyaukphyu-Kunming gas line traverses are Rakhine and Shan States, and Mandalay and Magwe Regions.

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