Asia Tribune: A
Newspaper Published by Asian Tribune Co.,Ltd.
Date : 2003-10-05
Burma: Double-talk of a Diplomat and Generals
By Zin Linn
After failing to persuade the Burmese generals to free opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the U.N. envoy Razali Ismail also hasn’t
extracted any promise that the National League for Democracy (NLD)
would be part of the Burma’s "road map" to democracy,
diplomats and journalists in Rangoon said on 3 October 2003. Before
he left Rangoon after a three-day visit on 2 October, Mr. Razali
said neither the junta's commander-in-chief Than Shwe nor the new
Prime Minister Khin Nyunt appeared to have shown any sign of interest
for national reconciliation process.
"Khin Nyunt,” told Razali, “it was too early to
discuss NLD participation in the national convention," suspended
in 1996, after the NLD walked out, according to one diplomat quoted
to have been told Reuters in Rangoon. According to Mr. Razali's
briefing, the diplomats said Suu Kyi, who has been sent back home
under house arrest after surgery, which followed more than three
months in detention at an undisclosed location, was willing to work
with Khin Nyunt on the road map. She also told the U.N. envoy of
her demand for an investigation into the May 30 violence, between
her supporters and pro-junta attackers during her provincial tour,
which led to her detention, the diplomats said.
But, a reliable source in Rangoon contradicted Razali’s statement
and said that there seems to raise some controversy that before
any talks Suu will not easily accept the junta's road map, as Razali
told. Daw San San, a Member of Parliament from Rangoon Division
and who appeared on the Thai-Burma border a few months ago, said
recently that she declined Razali's message that Suu was willing
to work with Khin Nyunt on the road map. Suu firmly decided not
to allow skipping the 1990 Election results, Daw San San pointed
out. The UN resolutions have also recognized the 1990 election results
as Burmese people's will. The possibility may be a negotiation on
reintroducing of State Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC's)
national convention suspended in 1996, she said. And one NLD MP
in Rangoon told unpleasantly that when Mr. Razali met with ethnic
leaders, instead of being an envoy he urged them to join in the
generals' road map.
An NLD Rangoon source official rebuked that Razali wants to be
praised as a successful envoy after each trip to Burma. But he forgets
one important thing that he is dealing with the most notorious generals,
who never keep their words. According to a political analyst in
Rangoon, what Razali should do is to secure Suu Kyi’s release
so that she can speak out for herself and the people.
Journalists in Rangoon were also disappointed with the UN Envoy
Mr. Razali for his un-diplomatic manners in dealing with the local
press. "He didn’t disclose anything to us, but only made
his spin with the diplomats," says a journalist in Rangoon.
In addition, while Mr. Razali was in Rangoon on his 11th visit,
a petition signed by (111) NLD MPs has been submitted to the 15
member states of the United Nations Security Council and the UN
Secretary-General on 29 September. The petition was not put forward
through Razali but through a different channel. The petition strongly
urged the UN Security Council to take responsibility in implementing
the national reconciliation process in Burma. Before the process,
the petitioners urged that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the senior NLD
leaders must be released and all NLD offices also must be allowed
to reopen, the petition says.
Meanwhile, on 2 October, representatives of exiled Members of Parliament
from Burma testified on the human rights violations of the Burmese
military junta before the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)'s Assembly
held in Geneva, Switzerland.
However, the Burmese military regime - which shamelessly declared
that it was keeping Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for her own protection
and would release her when the political heat cooled down - was
unlikely to accept a political dialogue or national reconciliation.
According to some political analysts, the generals were not confident
enough yet regarding when to free the Lady, anyway.
The junta's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win told the BBC's
World Today programme that the authorities were also in touch with
the detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr. Win said
that it was because of the authorities contact with Aung San Suu
Kyi that they were able to help when she needed medical treatment
last month. Asked when the opposition leader would be released from
house arrest, he replied evasively,: "Unfortunately we have
had some problems in the past, so when the situation returns to
normal, then we can think of the release."
The SPDC regime is plotting to play another game of duplicity by
ignoring the release of the Nobel Laureate and over 1600 political
prisoners by coming for ward with the announcement of its own Road
Map. If the junta is sincere and genuinely interested with its road
map, it should publicly declare an acceptable time frame and the
details of the representatives involved in the process. It is obvious
that the road map by Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt is only a
deception to soften international pressures and to continue with
the state power.
The above perception makes the Burmese people conclude that the
UN Envoy to be an unsympathetic diplomat towards the common cause
but a supportive one to the army general’s brutal regime.
In the same way, Burmese people are expecting the ASEAN to pursue
the agenda of seeking the release of Aung San Suu Kyi during Southeast
Asian leaders' summit in Bali next week - on Oct 7 and 8.
Asean Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) chairman Makarim Wibisuno,
who is also Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry's director-general
of Asian Pacific and South African Affairs, said, "We (Indonesia)
are the chairmen of the Asean meeting. We will proceed with discussions
(on detention of the Nobel Laureate).'' Makarim said after the SOM,
which met ahead of the Asean Summit. Asean officials have said the
situation in military ruled Burma was becoming an increasing embarrassment
for the group.
The military regime's newly nominated Prime Minister Gen. Khin
Nyunt could not avoid loss of dignity, unless the junta frees the
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi before the inauguration of the ASEAN
Summit in Bali.