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AFP-Myanmar exiles urge junta to be

Subject: AFP-Myanmar exiles urge junta to begin political dialogue

Myanmar exiles urge junta to begin political dialogue
BANGKOK, Aung 26 (AFP) - Exiled leaders of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement
Thursday urged the ruling military to start dialogue with opposition forces
led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a letter sent to junta chief General Than Shwe, the National Council of
the Union of Burma (NCUB) warned the junta not to use force to quash any

The letter, obtained by AFP, comes ahead of a planned uprising in Myanmar by
dissidents next month.

"There are currently indications that a general uprising may occur in Burma
due to widespread discontent," it said, refering to the country by its
former name.

The letter, penned by NCUB president General Bo Mya, who is also chief of
the ethnic rebel Karen National Union (KNU) said the only way for the junta,
known as the State peace and Development Council (SPDC), to avoid mass
unrest was through political means.

The KNU is the main ethnic insurgency which has not yet signed a ceasefire
agreement with the junta and operates near the border with Thailand.

"I strongly ask that those three forces in Burmese politics that are willing
to work for the development of the country -- the NLD, the SPDC and ethnic
groups -- should initiate a genuine dialogue immediately," Bo Mya said.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi won 1990
elections in Myanmar, but has been denied power by the military.

Dissidents insied and outside Myanmar are campaigning for a mass uprising on
September 9 -- or 9/9/99. The symbolic date has led it to be known as the
"Four Nines Movement."

August 8 this year marked the 11th anniversary of an earlier uprising, known
as 8/8/88, in which hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators were gunned down
and a junta took power from strongman General Ne Win.

That anniversary passed peacefully, but exile groups have said Myanmar's
people have an "appointment" with September 9 to repeat the events of 1988
and end the military's 37-year rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi has warned that the military is using the "Four Nines
Movement" as a pretext to tighten its grip.

"I think they are using it as an excuse for cracking down," she said in an
interview with AFP earlier this week.

The junta said recently that it had arrested 37 people, including NLD
members, in connection with the planned unrest. Exiled dissidents claim the
figure is close to 150 people.