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Bankok Post (9/5/98)news

News Bulletin

Bo Mya says KNU ready for truce talks

It will keep fighting for democracy 

The Karen National Union, while persistent in its armed struggle for
independence, is ready to negotiate a truce with the State Peace and
Development Council, Bo Mya told over 1,000 Karen people at the
Thai-Burmese border near Tak on Thursday.
He called on the Karen people to unite to fight for democracy in Burma.
"The KNU will continue to fight government soldiers as we have guerrilla
units along the border in areas opposite Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kanchanaburi
and Ranong. We can get rid of at least 100 enemies every month," said the
KNU leader.
However, he said the KNU is ready for talks with Rangoon for a cease-fire.
The KNU and Burmese military had held four rounds of negotiations, the last
one being in December 1996. 
The negotiations were furitless as the KNU declined to lays down arms.
The SPDC clamed the last round of talks were close to a settlement, had it
not been for interference from Western governments.
Moreover, in a meeting at Mae Tha Raw Hta opposite Tak's Umphang district
in January last year, 16 anti Rangoon minority rebel groups passed a
resolution not to agree to a cease-fire, A source said.
Concerning the defecting to Rangoon of Padoh Aung San, former KNU central
committee member and forestry minister and about 200 followers, Gen Bo Mya
said it was like waste discharged from KNU.
" If they were still with us the KNU would suffer even more damage because
they cooperated with the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army to
illegally feel logs in Thailand's Salween forests. He also took away with
him 28 million baht. So we do not regret they are gone," he said.

- Burma appoints civilian ministers

Rangoon - Burma's ruling military State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) has appointed three civilians as deputy ministers, officials said
Political analysts said the move was an attempt by the military to bring
more civilian experties into the government.
Set Maung, an economic expert, was appointed a deputy minister in the SPDC
office, while long-time diplomat Khin Maung Win was appointed deputy
minister of foreign affairs. Tin Swe was given the post of deputy minister
of construction, state -owned media reported.

- Foreigner arrested as 'mercenary'

Aim is publicity, student group says

A foreigner who sneaked into Burma illegally to distribute anti-government
literature has been attested by the military government and charged with
being a mercenary for rebel groups jeopardising national security officials
said yesterday.
Jeams Rupert Russell Mawdsley 24, from Sydney, with dual Australian-British
citizenship, was arrested on April 30 at  Mawlamyine town in Mon state
about 300 kilometers east of Rangoon, they said.
The authorities had detained him in the capital as they considered
immigration action, they said.
This is the second time Mr Mawdsley has been arrested by Burmese
authorities. Last September he was deported after being caught distributing
anti-government leaflets in Rangoon.
Official media accused him of cooperation with the anti-government Karen
National Union rebel movement and with Burmese student exiles belonging to
the All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF).
The Thailand-based ABSDF said Mr Mawdsely had entered Burma to draw the
attention of the ruling State Peace and Development Council's (SPDC)
suppression of democratic activities and its abuses of human rights.
It quoted a note it said Mr Mawdsley had left with KNU officials near
Mawlamyine which said his aim was to distribute anti-government literature
and actively seek arrest by the authorities.
"I love Burma. I want to see Burma as a free and peaceful country. If the
SPDC also wants Burma peaceful, they sould start to talk with democratic
groups, "the ABSDF quoted Mr Mawdsley's letter as saying.