[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Myanmar opposition seeks dialogue

Myanmar opposition seeks dialogue

29 May 1998
Web posted at: 02:02 JST, Tokyo time (17:02 GMT) 

YANGON, May 28 (Reuters) - About 400 members of Myanmar's National League
for Democracy opposition party ended a special two-day gathering late on
Thursday with an appeal to the ruling military junta to compromise and
start dialogue. 

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in her closing speech that the ruling
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) would not lose its dignity if it
held dialogue with the opposition to resolve a political stalemate in the

"We will keep on asking the government to hold dialogue as early as
possible," she said, while praising the government for allowing the
gathering to go ahead. 

The second and final day of the gathering, in Suu Kyi's lakeside residence
to mark the eighth anniversary of the party's landslide May 1990 election,
was held with the junta's blessing. 

It was the first time since the 1990 polls that a meeting to mark the
victory had been officially allowed by the military. 

A similar gathering planned by the NLD last May was thwarted by the
government and hundreds of party members and activists were detained to
prevent them from attending. 

The military, which seized power after bloodily suppressing pro-democracy
forces in 1988, never recognised the polls victory. 

Since then, the NLD and the junta have been at political loggerheads with
the opposition accusing the military of abusing human rights and curbing
its activities. 

The military has refused to hold talks with the NLD as long as Suu Kyi is
its representative. 

A 13-point resolution adopted at the end of the gathering by NLD members
authorised the party's central executive committee to fix a deadline for
convening of parliament comprising those elected as MPs in the 1990 polls. 

The party also decided not to support government-led efforts to formulate a
new national constitution via its hand-picked National Convention. The
party walked out of the convention in November 1995, claiming that the body
was a military-run sham. 

It also called on the government to immediately and unconditionally release
all political prisoners. 

NLD vice chairman U Tin Oo said that the party had been able to get the
release of some 180 members who had been temporarily detained by the
government while on their way from outlying townships to attend the
gathering in Yangon. 

Diplomats and political analysts said the calm atmosphere and the SPDC's
landmark decision to allow the gathering boded well for possible dialogue
in the near future. 

"The fact that the gathering has carried on without military disruption is
a significant sign in political developments here. I hope that the next
step in compromise between the two sides is for dialogue," said a
Yangon-based diplomat. 

Another local political analyst said: "Myanmar people are happy to see an
atmosphere of cooperation between the government and the NLD. We are
optimistic on political dialogue in future."