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Burm's Rulerst Say Building A Moder

RANGOON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Burma's new ruling State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) said its formation presented an opportunity to build a modern
and peaceful nation based on disciplined democracy, state newspapers reported
on Saturday. 

Earlier this month the SPDC replaced the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) which has ruled the country since 1988. The 19 member SPDC
executive includes a number of younger military officers but is headed by
four former top SLORC members. 

Foreign diplomats suggested the changes could be largely cosmetic but were
waiting to see if they signalled any policy changes. 

State media said on Saturday that former SLORC intelligence chief and now
SPDC Secretary One Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt told government workers at
Phaaggyi 100 Km (60 miles) north of Rangoon on Friday that they should work
with ``new conviction'' to help the SPDC build a modern, peaceful nation
built on ``disciplined democracy.'' 

``Now is the time for the entire people to work with all seriousness and
enthusiasm for peace and development of the nation,'' he said. 

``As demanded by the time and situation, the State Peace and Development
Council was formed to work with added momentum in the interests of the entire
people and for the emergence of a peaceful, modern and developed nation,'' he

In the first comments about the SLORC by an SPDC leader since the changes
were announced, Khin Nyunt said the SLORC, which was abolished when the new
ruling body was formed, had helped save the nation from disintegration, the
papers said. 

The SLORC was widely condemned by Western nations for its poor human rights
record and its suppression of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy (NLD) which won a landslide election in 1990 that was
never recognised. 

Diplomats have predicted that a real test of the new ruling body's commitment
to reform will come next week when the NLD holds a party gathering. 

The SLORC had recently clamped down on Suu Kyi's activities, leading to fresh
condemnation from abroad. ^REUTERS@ 

03:27 11-22-97