Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Burma affairs forum to be held in Rangoon

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A lesser known pro-democracy group, comprising former student activists is attempting to hold a Burma Affairs Forum in Rangoon.

The preliminary meeting for the forum will be held in January next year for greater cooperation among pro-democracy forces and to combine all diverse views on the planned 2010 general election.

“The main agenda will have various issues of democracy, human rights and national reconciliation. The deliberations will focus on how we will face and work in the 2010 political scenario,” the organizing committee spokesman Phyo Min Thein said.

“We will work in cooperation by exploring and creating common ground from different and diverse views,” he said.

The organizing committee of the forum is comprised of five 88-Gen students - Thein Htay, Thaung Win, Min Lwin and Thein Tin Aung. The committee was formed in November this year.

The plan is to hold the forum in the second week of January next year. They are now meeting and discussing with various political groups such as veteran politicians, ethnic leaders and pro-democracy forces.

“We shall invite leaders from pro-democracy forces. We also invited the National League for Democracy (NLD). Even if they can’t attend the meet, they can give their opinions,” Phyo Min Thein said.

“We hope the meeting between Daw Suu (Aung San Suu Kyi) and Senior General Than Shwe materializes and will yield fruitful results. This result might not be on the lines of the Shwe Gon Daing Statement (issued by NLD). It may be a new one,” he said.

In the letter sent to Senior Gen. Than Shwe on November 11, detained opposition leader Suu Kyi requested a meeting with him to help in easing economic sanctions imposed by western countries on Burma.

“We want to see Daw Suu decide freely on the course of action in the current situation. We want to tell her we will firmly stand by her,” Phyo Min Thein said.

After the meeting between Daw Suu and her party CEC, there could be some concessions and accommodation by the military regime, the former students hoped.

“However, in the changing situation, we must have a common platform by combining the army, pro-democracy forces and political parties through negotiation, consultation and reconciliation in a fraternal atmosphere, ” he said.

“The army is an institution in our country also, “he added.

But it is still difficult to figure out whether their opinion and will are in line with the will of imprisoned figures, 88-Gen students who are serving prison sentences, Phyo Min Thein, who is also a former political prisoner, and was imprisoned for 15 years from 1990 to 2005, said.

“It’s difficult to say whether they welcome our work as they are not even allowed to express their political views. We think the people, our friends, pro-democracy forces and the international community will respond positively if we work for the sake of our country in good faith,” he said.

The international community including the US, EU and UN are demanding the release of all political prisoners including Suu Kyi unconditionally and immediately as a pre-condition for conducting free and fair general elections in 2010.

“Our friends who are languishing in prisons are also trying to join us to walk together on the road we have chosen. Their release is crucial for us,” Phyo Min Thein said.

But the organizers said that they would not invite groups, which toe the army’s line, and their movements are in harmony with the army’s movements.


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