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More from Daw Suu


RANGOON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Leaders of two ethnic rebel organisations that
have signed ceasefire agreements with Burma's military regime urged on
Wednesday all groups to cooperate with the government to help the country
achieve democracy.
"We want to establish peace in our country. It is not a time to confront
each other because we need national reconciliation," said Nai Shwe Kyin,
leader of the Mon New State Party. "We have reached ceasefire agreements and
the next step is political dialogue."
"We must establish trust. After bloodbaths lasting nearly one half a century
we must establish trust with the view that one day reconciliation will come
about," said the Mon leader who at 83-years is the oldest rebel leader in Burma.
The Mon, one of Burma's 16 armed rebel groups, signed a ceasefire agreement
in May 1995. All the rebel groups except the Karen National Union have
signed ceasefires with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
Kyi Myint, general secretary of the National Democracy Alliance Army from
eastern Shan state bordering China and Laos, said his organisation was
participating in a government-sponsored National Convention which is
drafting guidelines for a new constitution.
"There is a national convention where we can discuss and argue. Not all
things we propose are accepted but some of our proposals were accepted,
especially regarding self administrative areas and economic development
matters," he said.
Kyi Myint said the constitutional talks were the best forum for discussion
between various ethnic groups, the opposition and the government.
Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi angered the SLORC last November when she
pulled her National League for Democracy (NLD) party out of the
constitutional talks, claiming the talks were a sham and did not represent
the will of the people.
The SLORC launched a new crackdown on the democracy movement late last week,
arresting hundreds of activists and setting up police-manned barricades to
bar access to Suu Kyi's house and prevent a three-day NLD congress from
taking place.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996

By Deborah Charles

RANGOON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared
to enjoy playing a cat-and-mouse game with the military government as she
criticised the regime's latest crackdown at a news conference on Wednesday.
"I bet the MI walkie-talkies are busy now," Suu Kyi joked as she watched
about a dozen journalists piling out of cars to attend a news conference
with her at a house several blocks from her home. Suu Kyi's street is
barricaded and no one can enter to visit her.
She was referring to several military intelligence officers who had observed
and photographed the arriving journalists.
Burma's military government launched a sweeping crackdown on the democracy
movement late last week, arresting hundreds of activists and barring access
to the road past Suu Kyi's house to prevent a planned September 27-29
meeting of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party from being held there.
The government had tried to block access to Suu Kyi, whose telephone line
has apparently been cut since Friday, by barring anyone from travelling on
her street.
Suu Kyi said she did not expect any reprisals from the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) for her decision to leave the barricaded
area and meet reporters.
"At the moment, I'm not aware of any restrictions against me," she said, but
noted that the SLORC was hard to predict.
"We have to do our work as a political party. There are always risks and we
have to live with them," she said, noting that it was always possible the
government could re-arrest her.
Suu Kyi, who was released from six years of house arrest in July 1995, won
the 1991 Nobel Peace prize for her non-violent efforts to bring democracy to
She said her party had deliberately kept quiet as long as possible about its
plans to hold its congress to avoid government action.
"We tried to keep it quiet as long as possible so they wouldn't arrest our
people too early. We were waiting to see how far we could go," Suu Kyi said
with a laugh.
Suu Kyi said her party expected the crackdown, after the government arrested
more than 250 NLD members in May who planned to attend a similar party congress.
She also accused the SLORC of breaking its word, as the government had said
her release from house arrest was "unconditional" but she has not been
allowed to travel freely and now her visitors are restricted.
"I do accuse them of breaking their word...by preventing me from going where
I want to go," she said.
But she said the blockade was helpful in part because it drew more world
attention and gave legitimacy to her party's efforts, and because it gave
her a chance to rest.
"I got a good rest. I'm getting a lot of exercise walking round and round
the garden which I never have time to do...it's the first time in more than
a year that I've had time," she joked.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996


The Burmese opposition may have lost its voice in the most severe repression
by the military authorities since opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
release after six years' house arrest in July 1995.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader has been under virtual house
arrest for the past four days.  The State Law and Order Restoration Council,
as the junta styles itself, said yesterday 559 NLD supporters had also been
brought in for questioning, of which 88 had been released by last night.
Political activists and the press have been prevented from seeing or talking
to the Nobel Peace laureate whose house has been a democratic oasis for 14
The junta said yesterday it was prepared to renew its crackdown if the NLD
tried holding another party congress, a military intelligence official said.
Colonel Kyaw Win, deputy chief of military intelligence, said such
pre-emptive action against the NLD would be less damaging to the country
than the negative publicity it attracted abroad.
"Letting them go ahead with meetings like that would have serious
ramifications, making it more difficult for the authorities," he said.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from leaving her home at the weekend and
her telephone was cut off, but it is not clear how isolated she will be in
the future.
Junta spokesmen claimed yesterday that only close colleagues would be
allowed to visit her at the moment, although she was free to move around.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters are paying the price for attempting
to plan a political future from her home on the eighth anniversary of the
NLD - which won an election in 1990 by a landslide, only to be ignored by
the military.
The weekend crackdown was harsher than that in May when 260 elected NLD
representatives were detained after announcing a party congress.
But Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's house was not closed off then and her weekend
public speeches from her gate were allowed to continue.
The NLD's announcement on Thursday that its supporters would meet to discuss
such provocative subjects as a rival constitution unleashed the latest
reaction. The SLORC does not appear to care much if its repression helps
provoke a ban on new investment from the US and restrictions on textile
exports to Europe.
Friday's move by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to cool
expectations that Burma would obtain full membership in time for the
organisation's 30th anniversary next summer may also not mean much.
Deputy Foreign Minister U Nyunt said the question of when Burma would join
ASEAN was up to its Southeast Asian neighbours.
U Nyunt said the Government might "take action" against a US diplomat for
meeting Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.  He said the actions of US Embassy Charge
d'Affaires Marilyn Meyers in the lead-up to the planned weekend congress had
strained the tolerance of the Burmese Government.  Ms Meyers and another
Rangoon-based American diplomat, Mark B. Taylor, were accused of active
participation in planning the NLD's congress. 
By Nick Cumming-Bruce in Bangkok.

BARRICADES manned by armed riot police yesterday still blocked access to
Rangoon's University Avenue and the villa of Burma's pro-democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since the barricades went up on Friday, residents have learnt to keep well
The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) said yesterday
that it had detained 559 people since Friday in a security crackdown that
may have escalated beyond even the junta's intentions. It claimed yesterday
to have released 88 detainees.
Slorc officials say 159 of those held were members of Ms Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy (NLD), who were headed to her house for a special party
congress. They found themselves bundled into lorries and trucked out of
sight. In Slorc-speak, they were invited to "guesthouses".
But another 400 people were picked up on Friday night, most in police sweeps
through Rangoon townships "in a bid to prevent crime likely to harm law and
peace and tranquillity of the state", as a senior intelligence officer
explained yesterday.
"Perhaps reaction was a little tougher than they expected or wanted," a
diplomat in Rangoon said.
Either way, the Slorc has seized the opportunity to deliver another
body-blow to the NLD and its leader. It again reveals the character of the
"democracy" its generals have in mind for their new constitution - when they
get round to formulating it.
At about the time the Slorc released Ms Suu Kyi from six years' house arrest
in July last year, it indicated a willingness to consider a dialogue with
her on Burma's future. By February, it was stalling talks on the grounds
that it was too busy preparing the country for economic lift-off.
The message yesterday was more abrupt. "Suu Kyi's actions have gone beyond
the limits of an opposition leader," Colonel Kyaw Thein, a senior
intelligence officer said. The Slorc is striving to create a democracy, he
insisted, adding: "there is no need for any opposition group."
The Slorc's actions are geared to pre-empting one. NLD members and
supporters function under intense surveillance and routine intimidation.
Undeterred by sporadic condemnation from the West, and showing greater
tactical know-how, the Slorc has maintained a steady flow of arrests,
picking off a number of Ms Suu Kyi's aides. Any NLD attempt to weld its
supporters into a more cohesive network invites stronger measures to thwart
When Ms Suu Kyi and fellow NLD leaders sought to hold a party congress in
May, authorities arrested 262. As now, officials said they were being
detained only temporarily, but some received long sentences.
When the NLD withdrew from what Ms Suu Kyi dismissed as a "sham" convention
working on the new constitution, and promised to draft an alternative, the
Slorc rustled up a law against any action that could "belittle or create
misunderstandings among the public in connection with the convention".
In a move against Ms Suu Kyi's regular weekend talks to crowds of several
thousand, the Slorc also took powers to ban any organisation that violated
laws controlling public gatherings.
They chose on Friday to pass over those powers in favour of military action,
blocking Ms Suu Kyi's speech for the first time since her release from house
arrest. The next few days may provide some clue as to how far the Slorc
intends to isolate her.
For the moment, NLD leaders still have daily access to her, she is free to
leave her compound, at least by car, and officials say she is free to meet
the press. But the noose around her is being drawn tighter, helped by a
crescendo of abuse in the official media.
Re-detaining Ms Suu Kyi looks likely to remain a last resort, Rangoon-based
diplomats believe. Sharp Western criticism of the weekend crackdown may have
alerted the junta to the diplomatic price of such a move.
It may also be taking note of disenchantment voiced within the Association
of South-East Asian Nations (Asean), to which Burma is seeking full membership.
Slorc leaders, if they felt themselves under pressure from the opposition,
would not allow foreign opinion to stop them throwing Ms Suu Kyi behind
bars. But after months of attrition directed at the NLD, there seems less
and less of an opposition to apply that pressure. 
GUARDIAN 2/10/96 P11 
11:31 GMT  

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Bangladeshi security forces have
asked their couterparts in Burma to help sweep hundreds of anti-personnel
mines dotting the no-man's land and other areas along their 250 km (155
miles) frontier, military sources said on Wednesday.
They said the request followed the death of six Bangladeshis, including a
border guard, and two elephants from landmines at Naikhayangchhari last month.
"Bangladesh security forces are awaiting clearance from Myanmar (Burma)
authorities to conduct the mine sweeping. The clearance is needed to avoid
misunderstanding between border forces of the two countries,"
Lieutenant-Colonel Shawkat Jamal said.
"Myanmar security forces have also been requested to cooperate with us in
this regard," he told Reuters.
"We hope that Myanmar will soon give go ahead to the sweeping as lives of
civilians and forces on both sides are threatened."
Police last week said the mines were believed to have been laid by Burmese
troops to prevent cross-border insurgents, but Bangladesh was not consulted
or aware of such a move.
But Jamal said the mines could have been planted by Burmese insurgents.
"The large number of mines have been planted crudely...but they can be
removed or defused by experts only," he said.
There was no word on the issue from Dhaka's foreign or defence ministry
(c) Reuters Limited 1996

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