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Thai Papers, Sept 6

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Subject: Thai papers on 6/9/95
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Karens issue fresh call for dialogue

Bkk Post/6.9.95

THE Karen National Union (KNU) has issued a fresh call for
dialogue with the ruling military junta in Rangoon after a KNU
congress which returned veteran leader Bo Mya as the
organisation's president.

In a statement seen here on Monday, the KNU also said it would
"further strengthen" the Karen National Liberation Army and Karen
National Defence Organisation to serve the Karen resistance to

Urging "unity for the entire Karen nation," the KNU said it would
"endeavour for a dialogue between the KNU and SLORC for the
establishment of genuine and lasting peace in the country."

SLORC refers to the State Law and Order Restoration Council, as
the junta is officially known.

Bo Mya's return to the KNU leadership surprised observers who had
expected him to be replaced after Karen guerrillas were virtually
eliminated as a military threat at the start of the year.

The 11th Karen Congress, held at an unspecified location I
August 21-31, was the first q since the breakaway Democratic
Kayin Buddhist Organisation (DKBO) helped SLORC forces drive the
KNU from their strongholds on the Thai-Burma border.

Meanwhile, a leading ethnic Mon guerrilla leader Nai Shwe Kyin
held a meeting with Burmese military leader General Than Shwe at
the Burmese Defence Ministry yesterday, official Burmese radio


Karen people urged to unite

The Nation/6.9.95

KAREN National Union leader Gen Bo Mya announced a new
administrative committee's policy calling on the Karen people to
unite in an attempt to consolidate their position concerning the
Burmese military junta.

The policy was announced via letters circulated among KNU bases
along the Thai-Burmese border, near Thailand's provinces of Tak
and Mae Hong Son.

It outlined the KNU's newly-elected committee's policy, which
focuses on the consolidation of the group's political power and
the strengthening of its army.

It also stressed its efforts to bring about genuine peace and
stability through negotiations with the Burmese junta, known as
the State Law and Order Restoration Council, and to cooperate
with other ethnic minorities in achieving its goal of a
democratic federal state.

At the KNU meeting last month to elect the group's 55-member
standing commit Tam La Bow as supreme commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile, Brig Gen Tinn Muang, commander of KNU's 7th Battalion,
issued a statement urging members of a Karen Buddhist faction
which defected to the Burmese army last yea-r to return to the
KNU fold.

Tinn Muang said in the letter that number of civilians who
belonged to the group had returned to the KNU bases because of
the mistreatment by Burmese soldiers.

He quoted those. returnees as. saying they were forced to replace
Burmese soldiers in controlling border areas, pitting them
against the KNU.

The factions' bases were presently located along the border
opposite Tak's districts of Mae Sot, Mae Ramat and Tha Song Yang.


Burma said to be relocating villagers for a tourist 'zoo'

The Nation/6.9.95

BURMESE authorities are relocating "long-necked" minority women
from their homes in eastern Burma to Rangoon to live in a
model-village tourist attraction, a Burmese opposition group said

Ethnic minority people from more than 200 villages in Thandaung
township in the hills of northern Karen state have been ordered
to leave their homes by Nov 10, the dissident All Burma Students'
Democratic Front (ABSDF) said in a statement.

Among the hill people ordered to move to new locations on the
low-land are members of the Padaung ethnic group whose women put
metal rings around their necks giving them a 'Long-necked" look.

The ABSDF said some of the Padaung people will be forced to live
in a model village, which is being built near Rangoon in time for
next year's "Visit Myanmar Year" and is described by the
dissidents as an "ethnic human zoo".

Many of the hill people were resisting the order to move and had
fled into the forest instead, the ABSDF said.

Independent confirmation of the ABSDF's report was not available
but Padaung people have been promoted as tourist attractions

A small group of Padaung women was taken from Burma to live in
northwestern Thailand where tourists are charged money to take
pictures of them.

Another small group of Padaung people live near Burma's Inle Lake
tourist destination in southern Shan state where tourists are
also charged to visit and take photographs.

The Padaung people are a sub-group of the Karen minority and live
in the hills of eastern Burma's Karen an Kayah states.

The ABSDF was formed in late 1988 by students who fled a bloody
military crackdown on pro-democracy protests that year to take up
arms alongside minority guerrillas fighting for autonomy in
Burma's remote frontier areas.

A 13-member expedition which included two young children had to
abort an attempt to climb Burma's highest mountain because of
avalanches and bad weather, group members said yesterday.

Japanese climber Ozaki Takashi, who led the team, told a news
conference they could not make it to the top of the 8,848-metre
Mount Khakaborazi but had to abandon the ascent at 5,100 metres.

"We decided not to go on because of adverse weather and falling
avalanches," said Takashi, accompanied on the climb by his wife,
their 10-year-year-old-son and seven-year-old daughter.

"We could climb Mount Khakaborazi if we wanted to, but our return
journey would be very risky because of the melting snow and
sliding avalanches," he said. "But we'll do our best to reach the
peak when we attempt a second time next year."

Takashi, who has twice climbed Mount Everest, the world's highest
mountain, said next time he would include more experienced
foreign members in his team.

The Takashi family was accompanied by four other Japanese
climbers and six Burmese.

No climber has yet reached the peak of Mount Khakaborazi located
in the eastern ranges of the Himalayas in Burma's northernmost
Kachin state.


Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF [MTZ]  6.9.95