Biking for Peace in Burma

June 19th, 2012 - by admin

Tore Naerland / Bike for Peace Norway – 2012-06-19 14:02:10

Bondevik — A Peace Mediator in Myanmar

NORWAY (June 4, 2012) — Bike for Peace, Norway, have arranged four trips to Myanmar since 2008.

The former Prime Minister of Norway and the current head of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human rights, Kjell Magne Bondevik, participated in the last two trips in 2011 and 2012.

In June 2011 Mr. Bondevik managed to receive a visa to Myanmar with the help of the contacts which Bike for Peace have in the country and met Aung San Suu Kyi.

In May 2012 Bike for Peace went to Myanmar again together with the Oslo Centre and the Hippie Media. When the delegation arrived at the airport, it was registered in the computer that Mr. Bondevik was still unwelcomed. After we informed the police that we would meet the president of the country, Thein Sein, we all got the permission to enter Myanmar.

We met the President on 11 May, together with the six ministers. The president said at first that he was very happy that Norway and Myanmar had again taken up the dialogue. He thanked Norway for this, and he hoped that the relationship of the two countries would develop favorably.

We talked about a number of topics, and the Norwegian investments in the country were one of them. The president informed us that the democracy in the country is being under development and that they needed time to learn this process.

Mr. Bondevik told the President that he believed Myanmar had taken the important steps towards democracy, but there was still a long way to go. He also draw attention to the political prisoners, and urged the President to come to agreement with the NLD (the party of Aung San Suu Kyi) and to release all the political prisoners.

On 15 May we also had a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi where we discussed the political situation in Burma at the time, and about her visit to Norway.

On our tour in Burma we met also the other representatives from business, the student movement of 1988, the human rights organizations, the AIDS Center, the schools led by NLD, the leaders of minority groups, and so on.

In Bagan, one of the cities with the most temples and pagodas in the country, there was arranged a dinner for us from an international company which plan to do investments in small companies in Burma. Mr. Bondevik held a speech where he talked about how important it was to invest to achieve social development, peace and democracy.

People from Burma expressed a big wish for Mr. Bondevik to be a peace mediator for the country. Kjell Magne Bondevik is an accomplished international politician who has the ability to be a good listener and mediator for different groups with various interests.

Having traveled with him twice to Myanmar, I can see that he makes a great contribution into the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. I also think that various international organizations can engage him in leading positions

Tore Naerland is the leader of Bike for Peace