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News #163 (part 2)

(part 2)

29 April 1995
Burma will accept assistance for its development and drug
eradication drive in the border region only if this does not
threaten national security or the unity and solidarity of the
country's various populations.
This was the condition set by the ruling military as it
considered offers of monetary and material aid by United
Nations (UN) specialised agencies and non-government
organisations (NGOs).
Two UN agencies and several international NGOs have already
made overtures to assist in the country's development drive
based on a master plan of operation adopted on June 23 last
year that would cost some US$ 2.1 billion in the next 10
Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (Slorc), ordered his officers to
inform UN agencies and international NGOs of Burma's attempts
to develop the border regions and the different ethnic groups.
Eight UN agencies are already involved in the development
project since its inception in May 1989.
Soon after gaining power through a 1988 coup, the Slorc formed
a high-level committee headed by Gen Shwe to develop border
areas captured from insurgents and ethnic groups.
The committee's work has grown with the signing of cease-fire
and peace accords with 14 former insurgent groups that were
resettled in their own areas, dubbed as special regions. Burma
normally designates a special region for each returning
armed ethnic group where it is allowed to keep its own
firearms. The government immediately starts development
projects in these regions.
The oldest and strongest remaining insurgent group in the
country's tiniest Kayah state on the Thai-Burmese border
abandoned recently its policy of armed revolt and returned to
the government fold. A total of 7,790 men belonging to the
Karenni National Progress Party (KNPP) that fought successive
Burmese governments since August 9, 1948 formally returned to
the Kayah state capital of Loikaw last March 21.
This development prompted Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, Slorc secretary
I, who formally made peace overtures on November 17, 1993, to
declare that peace has returned to the whole of Kayah state.
Armed conflicts in the whole of the Kayah state have come to
an end with the return of the KNPP, said Brig Maung Kyi of the
regional control command.
The KNPP is the last remaining armed ethnic group in the
smallest state that represents 1.73 per cent of Burma's
territory of 261,228 square miles.
Brig Kyi expressed confidence that from now on development
projects in the natural resources rich virgin land of Kayah
state would be carried out in full swing.
He said Burma has so far pumped in more than two billion Kyat
(about US$ 333.33 million) for the development of border
In its effort toward national reconciliation, the military
declared a unilateral suspension of offensives in the whole
country in 1992. It denied involvement in recent attacks
against the Buddhist rebel group the Karen National Union
The KNU, the strongest of the ethnic guerrilla groups along
the Burmese border, has been fighting the Burmese government
for the past 46 years. The ruling military has vowed to
continue the fight till total elimination of all rebels is
Like the others which have signed peace accords with the
Slorc, the KNPP will be allowed not only to keep its own arms
in their special regions but also to be represented at the
convention that is laying down the basics for a new
Lt Gen Khin Nyunt expressed optimism that more insurgent
groups will soon be joining hands with the military for the
development of their own regions.
Over the years, insurgency has hampered peace, progress and
development in this country of 43.13 million.
The general said Burma spent some 318.12 million in the last
five years for border development, of which $101.4 million was
spent last year. He said the first five years_the first phase
of the development programme_were used for area consolidation
and development.
The second phase would involve the implementation of the
master plan. The first phase covered 14 regions, or 19.1 per
cent of the country's territory. These regions have total
population of three million, or some seven per cent of Burma's
Annual population growth in the plan area has been estimated
at 1.04 per cent, with a population density of 68 per square
mile. (BP)

29 April 1995
A Japanese-funded dam believed to be the longest in Southeast
Asia was officially opened yesterday.
The five-kilometre-long Nawin Dam in Paukhaung township, 240
kilometres north of Rangoon, was built with an 8 billion Yen
($94 million) Japanese Government Overseas Economic
Cooperation Fund OECF loan.
Construction began in 1985 but was suspended in 1988 with only
a quarter of the work done_due to civil turmoil.
Construction resumed in 1992 with the help of eight Japanese
engineers and was completed this month.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Agriculture Minister Lt Gen
Myint Aung said the ruling junta has built 51 dams and weirs
in six years. (BP)

29 April 1995
With justifiable, if belated anger, the government has
demanded that Rangoon explain repeated violations of Thai
territory by a marauding group of ethnic guerrillas which is
sponsored by the Burmese military.
Branding the border incursions a violation of Thai
sovereignty, Deputy Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan has
called on Rangoon to give Bangkok an assurance they would not
happen again.
While it waits for a response from the junta, the government
might do well to ask the Thai military some equally tough
questions about the attacks on refugee camps which are well
inside Thai territory.

Repeated crossings
Since the fall of the Karen National Union bases at Manerplaw
and Kawmoora in December and February, the Burmese and their
Karen allies, the DKBA, have repeatedly crossed into Thailand
to attack and kidnap Karens who have taken refuge from
fighting across the river border.
According to reports from aid workers the raids have picked up
in intensity since April 19 to the extent that they have
almost become daily occurrences.
Thailand's generals have expressed their extreme fury at
these frequent violations of the border but at the same time
they seem powerless to stop them.
What is most alarming about the attacks is that they are not
just mere across  the river hit-and-run sorties.
Tuesday's attack involved a group of around 200 Burmese and
DKBA troops who crossed into Thailand from the north, and
attacked Mae Ra Ma Luang camp in Mae Sam Lab district. Unlike
the other camps which are close to the river, this is a new
camp five and half kilometres inside Thai territory.
The army has claimed that since the attacks take place at
night there is little they can do to prevent them.
Again this not the most reassuring of answers for those of us
worried about the security of the country. The target of the
Burmese operations is well-known_the refugee camps and the
border area, with its long history of fighting is one of the
most heavily manned pieces of land in Thailand. Most Thai
citizens, who pay a large sum in taxes to ensure the upkeep of
the military, couldn't be faulted for expecting their soldiers
to perform a little more effectively.
Of course, it is not fair to heap all the blame on the
military for the problems along the border. Trying to read
Thailand's foreign policy in regards to Burma has never been
easy given the hundreds of years of suspicion if not outright
hostility between the two countries.
Historically, the Karens have been regarded as a useful buffer
between Thailand and Burma. But now we have Karens fighting
Karens, Karens allying with the Burmese and Karens looking to
make peace with the Burmese.
More recently it was decided by those who plot Thai strategy
that Thai-Burmese relations would be better enhanced by
engaging Burma economically. And Thai military leaders quickly
became some of the most ardent advocates of the policy in both
their professional roles as soldiers and in their private
lives as businessmen. 
In pursuance of this policy, refugee camps, with their links
to the ethnic resistance groups became an enemy of sorts.
Their continued existence was living proof that all was not
well in Burma, and then there was also their role as an
impediment to the steam-rolling of the resistance groups in
east Burmese border areas. Areas which needed to be pacified
if mutually beneficial projects like the Tavoy gas line were
to go through.
But getting rid of the refugees has proved to be better idea
in theory than in practice. The Thai military's efforts
earlier this year to force refugees across the border while a
full scale war was raging drew an enormous amount of bad press
and international condemnation.
For the thick-skinned military junta in rangoon, international
condemnation has never really been much of a factor in policy
making. Neither really has concern for the feelings of its
neighbours _ remember Hill 491 and the Arakan border flare up.
Now Burmese soldiers and their allies are rampaging through
Thai territory in pursuit of their goal to crush all
resistance to their rule.
The Rangoon junta has never been one for civil or principled
arguments, although it well understands the power of the gun.
When Cambodia's warring groups have taken their scraps into
Thai territory the Thai army has been quick to keep them in
line with a few strategically placed shells.
If would appear some similar principled resolve is needed to
reinforce the western frontier and Thai foreign policy as
well. (TN)

29 April 1995
An anti-government activist has returned to Rangoon after
surrendering at the Burma Embassy in Tokyo, the state-owned
New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported yesterday.
Banya Zaw, 26, joint general secretary of the Burmese
Association in Japan (BAIJ), handed himself into the embassy
on April 21, the paper said.
He had joined anti-government groups after the military
takeover of Burma in 1988 and left to work in Japan early in
1989, it said. (TN)

1 May 1995

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has urged state agencies to set-
tle their difference internally over an army proposal to set
up a holding centre to house Karen refugees at the Tak border
instead of bringing their conflict to the public.
He was responding to Army Commander-in-Chief Wimol Wongwanich-
's criticism of the Foreign Ministry for  refusing to share
his idea of the holding centre.
Gen Wimol said on Saturday he would propose to the Government
that a holding centre be set up to house Karen refugees to
ensure proper security to protect disappeared persons against
across-border attack.
The refugees are now scattered at makeshift camps along the
Thai-Burmese border, making it difficult for the military to
protect them.
Gen Wimol said the Interior Ministry understood and supported
his proposal but not the Foreign Ministry which still did not
understand it.
The Foreign Ministry was the country's mouthpiece and it
should visit the scene to see the situation, he said.
The Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council
disagree with the idea of setting up a holding centre at the
border for fear the presence of the camp will affect the liv-
ing conditions of local villagers.
Mr Chuan said both the Defence and Interior ministries would
have to discuss this idea further.
He believes the camp can be set up if security agencies can
ensure it s safety.
The border conflict in Tak was not serious enough to require
high-level talks between Bangkok and Rangoon, he said.
The problem was still within the ability of the Thai-Burmese
regional border committee to handle and would not have nay
impact on Thai-Burmese relations.
He said he had discussed the situation on Friday with Gen
Wimol who suggested extra security measures be taken at spots
where local manpower was lacking. The Government was ready to
provide assistance. 
The Third army since Saturday  has sent ground troops and he-
licopter gunship to strengthen security at Tha Song Yang dis-
trict where a series of border incursions by the Rangoon-
backed Democratic Karen Buddhist Army have taken place in the
past week.
The Border Patrol Police earlier sent its elite Pawai paramil-
itary unit to help special task force police and local police
protect  the border at Mae Sot, Mae Ramat, Tha Song Yang in
Tak and Sob Moei in Mae Hong Son.
The BPP clashed for 20 minutes with armed karen refugees who
tried to commandeer a villager's pick-up truck for use in at-
tacking a Thai village at Ban Tha Song Yang in Tha Song Yang
district in Tak.
BPP sources said the refugees who claimed to be members of the
anti-Rangoon Karen National Union wanted to attack the
village, whose residents are Buddhists, in the belief the vil-
lagers helped the DKBA.
About 200 villagers evacuated the village during the incident
and refused to return home last evening for fear of a renewed
attack attempt.
An Army helicopter gunship was sent to the scene and found
only three Karen were involved in the act. The Karen managed
to escape into a refugee camp following the clash. ( BP)

1 May 1995

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) vows to continue
destroying karen refugee camps in Thailand to force all the
refugees back to Burma.
The DKBA wanted all Karens taking refugee in Thailand back in
Burma before the rainy seasons starts, Capt Tu Na, commander
of Mae Ta Wah area opposite Tha Song Yang district to Tak
province, said at the weakened.
It would use all means to ensure their return, whether
voluntarily, through pressure from Thailand or by attacking
all karen refugees and began trying to persuade them to come
home a few months ago. But they remained in Thailand.
"So we had to take violent measures by attacking and setting
refugee camps ablaze," Capt Tu Na said.
Karen refugees are returning to Burma every day and total more
than 10,000 so far, he claims. Troops and Christian Karen are
These people would live in the north of Karen State,
especially at the Mya Yi Ngu temple about 50 kilometres west
of the Tha Song Yang border district in Tak, he said.
The temple accommodates just over 2,000 Karen families under
the supervisions of Phra U Sujana (a monk) who is the top
leader of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organisation (DKBO),
according  to Capt Tu Na.
The DKBO was willing to send former Karen refugees back to
their homes upon request and to arrange new settlements for
other who wanted neither original locations nor to live at the
temple, he said.
A new settlement is in Kamamaung beside the Salween River. "We
are working with troops of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc). When all Karen refugees come
home, we'll ceasefire and Slorc promises to pull its troops
out of border areas.
"Karen people will then be permitted to set up their own
government to live peacefully and the border will be fully
opened for trade with Thailand," Capt Tu Na said.
Senior Slorc officials always coordinate work with Phra U
Sujana to welcome back Karen refugees, according to Phra U Nya
Ni ka, an immediate subordinate of Phra U Sujana.
The officials include Slorc's First General Secretary Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt and southeastern Force Commander Maj-Gen Ket Sein.
Lt-Gen Toe Hlaing, the Mae Ta Wah camp commander, said many
Karen refugees wanted to return to Burma but were blocked by
Christian Karen armed forces manning refugee camps.
This prompted the DKBA to attack refugee camps to enable the
refugees to return.
The DKBA needed to negotiate for Thai authorities to push back
Karen refugees as it did not want Karens to rob and kill
Thais, actions for which the DKBA was been blamed, he said. If
Thailand cooperates, the DKBA will stop attacking the
camps, he claims.
"Our operations will harm neither Thai officials nor villagers
as we target only Christian karen armed forces which are
staying in Thailand.
"As the forces are armed, we have to attack with weapons," Lt-
Gen Toe Hlaing said.
He said he and Col Bo Pia had led about 500 troops to attack
the refugee camp in Huay Manoke village last Friday.
The troops burned provincial police checkpoints on Tha Song
Yang-Mae Sariang Highway because Christian karen troops had
been seen there.
Sergeant Thawatchai Wanon was kidnapped during that mission as
he was mistaken for a karen, Let-gen Toe Hlaing said. The
officer was released after his identity was proved.
"Now we want karen National Union Forestry Minister Pado Aung
San and KNU military man Col Be Na, who are staying in Ban Nae
Woei refugee camp, to back to Burma so all other Karens will
follow them. Then civil wars in Burma will end peacefully," he
Lt-Gen Toe Hlaing claims he earlier asked Pado Aung Sann to
return to Burma and Pado promised to consider the request.
Upon his return, Pado would be appointed the DKBO leader.
But Pado would  have to take responsibility for any damage
caused by the DKBA's attack in Thailand as he was responsible
for other Karen refugees refusing to return home, Lt-Gen Toe
Hlaing said.
The DKBO was founded with Slorc support late last year and has
Buddhist karens as members. Phra U Sujana is the policy leader
and Gen Yaw Het is the military chief.
It jointed the Burmese government in seizing the Karen
National Union's Manerplaw stronghold and other northern KNU
bases, including Kawmoora camp which was the second-most
important base of the KNU.
Because of the DKBO's attack, the KNU retreated southward.
Lt-Gen Toe Hlaing said the DKBO set up the DKBA which had
Buddhist karen as its troops. The troops used weapons which
had been seized from all conquered KNU bases.
The DKBO separated itself from the KNU because Buddhist Karen
had been forced by Christian karens to live as low-class
people, he alleged.
Buddhist karens could be only inferior officials and had hard
living conditions but Christian karens had high positions,
lived in good houses and some did business in Thailand. (BP)  

2 May 1995

Karen refugees from at least three camps in this district have
started to leave their shelters for the safety of the Ban Huay
ka-lok camp which is further away from the Moei River and
closer to the town of mae Sot, causing it to become
Mae Sot authorities at the checkpoint to the Ban huay Ka-lok
camp said at least 100 refugees from the Huay Ma Nod, Ta Mo Ko
and So koh camps had been seeking shelter there every day
since the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) started to
storm their camps during the past week.
The Huay Ma Nod and Ta Mo Ko camps were reportedly burned down
by the DKBA.
An official said those seeking shelter must first be examined
and then guaranteed by people living in the camp before
permission would be given for them to take refuge in the Ban
Huay Ka-lok camp.
Thai authorities yesterday exchanged gun fire with three Karen
refugees armed with M16 rifles who were about to set fire to
Ban Rai-oy, adjacent to Ban Tha Song Tang.
Meanwhile, Mae Sot police yesterday arrested 70 Burmese who
were crossing the Moei River into Mae Sot and later sent them
back to Burma. (BP)

2 May 1995

THE Foreign Ministry has no objection to Army Chief Gen Wimol
Wongwanich's proposal to relocate Karen refugees at a large
camp deep inside Thailand, Army spokesman Col Palangkoon
Klaharn said yesterday.
His comments came as Thai helicopter gunships deterred
renegade Karen fighters from crossing into Thailand despite
the rebels' vow to continue raiding refugee camps until all
70,000 Karen refugees return to Burma.
Thai military sources in Mae Hong Son Province, who requested
anonymity, said their officers saw about 120 troops of the
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army perched on the opposite bank of
the Salween River yesterday morning.
"They stayed on the other said, probably because they saw our
helicopters flying nearby," a Thai army officer said, quoted
by Associated Press.
The officer declined to say how many helicopters the Army has
along the border. The Army and the Border Patrol Police began
reinforcing their units along the border this weekend, sending
additional troops, helicopter gunships and armoured vehicles.
Col Direk Yaemngarmriab, commander of the third Army chief
insisted his proposal was a correct way to solve the problem
of Karen Refugees along the border with burma.
But the Interior Ministry and Third Army Region must decide
which area is suitable for this purpose.
Dr Krasae did not object to Gen Wimol's proposal and
understood the camp would not be a permanent holding centre,
according to the spokesman.
The spokesman said the camp should not be called a Karen
refugee centre but should instead be referred to as "a safe
area for illegal immigrants".
Dr Krasae said there was a possibility of relocating the
Karens deeper inside Thailand, but the issue rested with the
Dr Krasae will today inspect construction of the Thai-Burmese
Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot District of Tak and visit Huay
Manok and Kamaw Leko villages in Tha Song Yang District where
a series of border incursions by the Rangoon-backed DKBA took
place in the past week.
"It is good if human rights and national security can go
together. if not, as Foreign Minister, I would give priority
to national security and the interests and safety of people,"
he said.
Dr Krasae yesterday summoned Burmese Ambassador U Tin Win for
talks about military incursions into Thailand and further
He expressed concern over the incidents and asked the
ambassador to convey the message to Burma's ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), he said.
U Tin Win was quoted as saying that Burma gave importance to
the border development plan to ensure refugees' safety when
they returned home.
Deputy Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said that in
considering whether to set up a new holding centre or remove
the refugee camps from the border some points needed to be
"The point is how to stop the violations of sovereignty. All
parties, the Foreign, Interior and Defence ministries and the
National Security Council are trying their best to tackle the
problem as the world is paying attention to it," he said.
The time had not arrived to send refugees back to Burma and
Thailand had not decided yet to allow other international
agencies to monitor the situation, he said.
But Thailand wanted an assurance that incursions would not be
Tak MP Udon Tantisunthorn claims a new holding centre is not
necessary as the situation on the border has returned to
 Mr Udon earlier inspected the border area in Tak Provance
where incursions by the DKBA have occurred in recent weeks in
an effort to force refugees to return home.
He also inspected construction of a Thai-Burmese bridge across
the Moei Rover.
"The situation at the border has returned to normal after Thai
military forces and border Patrol Police were reinforced.
Therefore, I don't think the proposed new holding canter is
needed," he said.
Mr Udon said he had doubts about various non-governmental
organizations opposing the return home of Karen refugees
talking shelter in Thailand.
"The refugees have not done anything beneficial for Thailand
but have made trouble by plundering Thai villages.
Police general Pote Booyachida said Thailand must retaliate
decisively and promptly against future incursion by foreign
One company of the Naresuan Police Paratroppers, Third region
border Patrol Police and Police Special Operation Forces had
been reinforced in border areas to control the situation, he
Prime Minister Chuan brushed aside reported conflicts of
opinion over the proposed recolation of Karen refugees, saying
authorities familiar with the problem would be able to find a
solution. (BP)

Published by Mon National Relief Committee
P.O. Box 1, Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi 71240
(91 pages, with color photos, maps, information about
Halockhani, background on Mon refugees, analysis of
Burmese ethic refugees (reasons for, internal displacement,
UNHCR position, international involvement in the issues,
protection against involuntary repatriation, press coverage

Introductory Notes from Chairman of Mon National Relief

Both the violent physical attack on the 6000 Mon refugees
by the Burmese Army and the immediate inhumane forcible
repatriation of these refugees by the Thai government are
unforgettable for the Mon people and international
committee.  Both the peoples of Burma and the
international community have been amazed by the
cooperation of the Burmese and Thai governments in their
recent physical and mental abuse of the thousands of
innocent human beings in Halockhani and will no doubt be
still wondering what have been the real motive and
motivation behind such a unity between these two regimes.  All
in all, we are still seriously concerned for the well-being
and safe existence of the Mon and other Burmese refugees
who are seeking havens on the Thai-Burma border.  We
cannot yet afford to set our minds at rest because we have not
been given reason to believe that such this unity of the two
governments has stopped.

Amazingly enough, on the very day the Thai government
and Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council signed the memorandum of understanding for
exploitation of the massive natural gas in the Mon territory
in Burma, the 6000 Mon refugees were finally pushed back
to their unsafe shelters in the Burmese territory by the Thai
Army.  Frankly we are still wondering whether the interests of
the two governments rest upon the miseries of the Mon
people?  Should this be true, it is not only a crime against
humanity but also a sin against the teachings of the Lord
Buddha for those rulers from the two sides to have so
fiercely squeezed the thousands of the innocent subjects
between them.

As a Buddhist Mon priest, with my utmost grief I wonder
why the Thai and Burmese rulers who are both Buddhists
have with such rancour abused the Mons -- the people who
once introduced both the Burmese and Thai peoples to the
teachings of the Lord Buddha.  With our deepest regrets we the
Mon people nowadays learn that Thailand has also
forgotten the not-too-distant past, the time when the Mons
enjoyed sovereignty and prosperity and maintained a long
lasting cordial relationship with Thailand.  

According to the teachings of the Lord Buddha, there are
basically three kinds of evil that lead to ultimate failures
of those who are subject to them: loba (avarice), dosa (anger)
and moha (ignorance). These three kinds of evil are
interdependent and inextricable.  When the one leads, the
two others follow.  That is, when one has so much greed for
something, then one loses one's wisdom to know right from
wrong and becomes so angry at anyone whom one assumes
as an obstacle in the way of it.  The Lord Buddha also
teaches the four virtues of nobleness that lead to ultimate
successes of those who practice them: metta (loving-kindness),
karuna (compass ion), mudita (sympathetic joy)
and upekkha (equanimity).  These four virtues of nobleness are
also personified in Buddhism as Four Guardians of the
world.  We, all Buddhists, should always bear in mind these
teachings of the Lord Buddha and should endeavour to
lesson the three kinds of evil on one hand and promote the
four virtues of nobleness on the other.

The Thai government should sympathize with the plight of
the people of Burma under the rule of a ruthless brutal
military dictatorship and in the turmoil of the long-term
ongoing civil war in that country which are the main causes
for the Mon and other Burmese ethnic refugees to have
come to seek for sanctuary under its sovereignty.  These
refugees are at the mercy of the Thai authorities.  They owe
debts of gratitude to Thailand for its kindness and sympathy
to them at the time they are in trouble and as such they will
be loyal to Thailand.  They will always respect the Thai laws
and sovereignty during their refuge in Thailand.  And they
will ne er forget the debts of gratitude they owe to Thailand. 
They are just awaiting such a time they can afford to leave
Thailand and return home safely.

Ven. Wongsa Pala
Chairman, Mon National Relief Committee

from The Nation on 3.5.95

3.5.95/ The Nation

The government yesterday agreed to scale down the number of
Burmese refugee camps from 16 to two and to relocate them 10
kilometers from the border with Burma , said Interior Minister
Sanan Kachornprasart .

Sanan said the Third Region Army would be responsible for
setting rules at camps which would be temporary sanctuaries
for the Burmese .

Currently, the Burmese are sprawled out on 16 areas along the
border in Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces , having fled
fighting between Burmese government troops and ethnic
guerrilla groups . 
Yesterday's decision came shortly after a series of border
incursions by the newly formed Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
[DKBA] aimed at abducting Burmese sheltering in the refugee

Thailand protested against the incursions which in some cases
resulted in the loss of lives . Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai
even gave the go ahead for the Army to pursue aggressors and

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said it
would now be the responsibility of the Army to deal with
tensions along the border because diplomacy had failed to put
an end to the incursions.

Surin said the Interior and Foreign ministries and the Army
would discuss measures to control security at the camps. He
added they would apply the administrative model to the camps
that Thailand used with Cambodian refugees.

" The Army would be responsible for setting the location of
the camps and it would cooperate with the Interior Ministry in
providing security at the camps, " Surin said.

Foreign Minister Krasae Chanawongse yesterday visited Huay
Manok village in Tak's Tha Song Yang where six Burmese camps
were located .

" The Foreign Minister has agreed in principle with the scale-
down initiated by the Army and  the Interior Ministry . It
means the six camps in Tha Song Yang district would be
integrated and to be located on a 2,000 rai  plot of land in
Mae La , in the same district," Krasae said.

The integration would facilitate the effective control of the
camp by the authorities concerned. Thailand gained experience
at handling similar large -scale refugee camps during the
heady years of the Cambodian conflict when the country
sheltered 100,000 refugees , Krasae said .

" With such methods , it would be easy camps for the
authorities concerned to control the camps and save money."
the foreign minister said.

Those comments appear to contradict his earlier statements
that the integration of the camps would be costly and force
the government to allocate a larger budget for the project.

The prime minister said the Defence Ministry has deployed
additional personnel to stem the flow of refugees into the

"The government is willing to support coordination among the
ministries concerned and it will consider how to help in terms
of budget," Chuan said.

Krasae said Thailand would send the Burmese back when they are
ready to return . He added that any proposal for their return 
must be discussed between both government to ensure their safe

3.5.95/ The Nation

Mae Sot - Karen guerrilla leader Gen Bo Mya has reiterated his
call for Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai to initiate peace talks
between his embattled Karen National Union [KNU] and the
Burmese junta.

In a letter to Chuan dated April 15, Bo Mya said his group
declared a unilateral ceasefire on March 24 to move closer
towards peace talks .

He said he expects the military junta the State Law and Order
Restoration Council [Slorc]  to reciprocate with " a
productive response " but " so far we have received no
response form Slorc about the peace talks."

It was the second time Bo Mya has urged the Thai government to
help convene peace negotiations between the KNU and Slorc. The
Karen leader sent a letter dated Feb 18 to Deputy Foreign
Minister Surin Pitsuwan urging him to find the  means to
initiate talks.

The KNU, which lost its headquarters based at Manerplaw and
the strategic stronghold of Kawmoora to the Burmese army in
January and February , had until late last year dropped its
demand that the peace talks be held outside Burma and that
they involve Rangoon and an umbrella delegation of ethnic and
opposition groups.

The talks , tentatively scheduled for December , were stalled
by Slorc's unexpected military offensive on Manerplaw.

" In order to get closer to peace, we took the initiative by
instructing our armed take effect , beginning from March 24 ,
with much expectation from Slorc for productive response .So
far , we have said in his letter to Chuan, a copy of which was
obtained by The Nation .

"Hencewith, we expect Your Excellency to take the initiative
for further progress , if possible , to materialize meaningful
peace talks ," he added.

The Karen general said his group would have no choice but to
renew its armed struggle against Rangoon if Slorc continues to
demand the KNU's " unconditional surrender" . He warned that
the Burmese junta must be held responsible for the
consequences of such a demand .

" Slorc seems to us only unconditional surrender, which by no
means can we or shall we accept. So we have no alternative but
to pursue the resistance struggle, as surrender is out of the
question for the Karen National Union," he said.

"For this, Slorc must bear the responsibility for the
consequences that follow ." 

KNU secretary - general padoh Ba Thin confirmed during an
interview over the weekend that Slorc has yet to respond to
the KNU's overtures , conveyed in two letters sent through "
some middlemen." 

The letters , sent to Slorc leader Lt Gen Khin Nyunt and dated
27 March and April 4, indicated the KNU's willingness to enter
into a dialogue in Burma.

Three people appointed to an advance team to pave the way for
the official talks were named in the letter.

The letters stemmed from 

an emergency meeting of the future
military and political strategies following the fall of their
northern strongholds.

Appointed were Maj Gen Maung Maung , a KNU joint secretary ,
Padoh Klee Say, joint secretary of Dyuplaya district ; and
Shay Wah, an army officer at general headquarters, to the
advance team slated to travel to Rangoon to reach agreement on
a time and location for the peace talks, according to Ba Thin