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Burma Military Should Not Seize Pow

Note: What Lt. Gen. Tin Oo ment was the present ruling military, SPDC, rules
Burma forever.
RANGOON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Burma's military government has vowed to develop
the country so that the nation's armed forces never need seize power again,
official media said on Tuesday. 

Lieutenant-General Tin Oo, army chief of staff and Secretary Two of the ruling
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), was quoted as making the statement
on Monday in a meeting with armed forces officers. The meeting was convened to
explain the country's present situation. 

``The SPDC government is building good political, economic and social
foundations with genuine goodwill in order that the Tatmadaw (the military)
will never take over the state power in future,'' Tin Oo was quoted as saying
at the Ministry of Defence. 

The SPDC abolished the former ruling body -- the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) -- and took power in a surprise government change
last month, reportedly aimed at rooting out corrupt ministers. 

The change involved some major reshuffles at ministries and in the ruling
military body. Several allegedly corrupt ministers were removed from the
cabinet and placed on an Advisory Group, which the SPDC dissolved last week. 

Rumours have been sweeping through Rangoon that authorities had arrested
several members of the group and were questioning them, but the government has
denied making any arrests. 

Tin Oo, who is also Chief of the Bureau of Special Operations, said the SPDC
was a military government that planned to transfer state power back to the
people. He did not say when this would occur, but stressed the government was
laying the groundwork. 

``Without these good foundations, the country will never be free from the
endless cycle of the situation under which the Tatmadaw will have to take

The army seized power in 1988, after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy
uprising. The military government allowed elections in 1990, that were won
overwhelmingly by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by
Aung San Suu Kyi, but the SLORC refused to recognise the result and held on to

But in an apparent reference to the recent government changes and the
dissolution of the Advisory Group, Tin Oo said the SPDC had to
``reconstitute'' the government. 

``It is necessary for those who are taking the responsibilities of the State
to discharge their duties properly in the public interest,'' he was quoted as

``If ... mistakes cannot be mended, reconstitution like this has to be carried
out,'' he said, referring to the dissolution of the SLORC. ^REUTERS@ 

04:32 12-16-97