Burmese MPs in exile call for ASEAN support

Aug 18, 2008 (DVB), A five-member delegation from the Burmese exiled Members of Parliament Union attended an Indonesian parliamentary function to mark the 63rd anniversary of Indonesian independence on 15 August.

The MPU delegates were invited as official guests to present a report about the current political situation in Burma and to make their case in the Indonesian parliament.

U Win Hlaing, one of the MPU delegates, said the delegates had told Indonesian parliamentarians how the Burmese regime had focused its attention on the 2010 elections while neglecting what was truly needed.

"[The regime should focus on] achieving national reconciliation, establishing foundations for democracy which is the true aspiration of the people of Burma, and holding a genuine inclusive national convention in which all stakeholders can participate," he said.

"If the SPDC proceeds unilaterally as it is doing now, we asked ASEAN countries, particularly Indonesia, to do their best to help sway SPDC away from this course of action."

U Win Hlaing welcomed the fact that Indonesia had officially invited the Burmese representatives elected in 1990.

"The MPU delegation was invited and given special treatment as official guests. They also made the arrangements for us to attend the Special Plenary Session in Parliament and to meet with the Speaker of the House," U Win Hlaing said.

"This shows that they have high regard for the elected representatives of the people of Burma and deep sympathy for the suffering and struggle of our people," he went on.

"They told us that ASEAN was not without problems but that they were willing to get more involved and deal with Burma issues tactfully."

From Indonesia, the delegation will go to Singapore to discuss the issue of the MPU being admitted to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, U Win Hlaing said.

On 13 August, MPU secretary U Khun Myint Tun testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Philippines House of Representatives.

U Khun Myint Tun said he had told the committee that ASEAN's constructive engagement policy on Burma had been a failure because it allowed the SPDC to avoid political dialogue.

"Another point I raised is that a tripartite dialogue [between the military, ethnic leaders, and the NLD] was imperative if national reconciliation is to be achieved in our country," U Khun Myint Tun said.

"For that to happen, I said, appeasement policy and a pacified approach would not work and that strong pressure was needed," he said.

"The [SPDC’s] roadmap and its constitution need to be rejected and I suggested that the Philippine president and government take the lead within the ASEAN to initiate the move," he continued.

"Under the present conditions, I said, the SPDC does not represent our country and therefore world countries should stop giving it de facto recognition."

Following his proposal, the Philippines Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution to step up pressure for tripartite dialogue in Burma, said Khun Myint Tun.

"After my report, the chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee said they were 100 percent behind the people of Burma and that they would use whatever pressure they could to bring the SPDC to the negotiating table," Khun Myint Tun said.

"The key resolutions passed are to recognise the results of the 1990 elections, to work for the emergence of a tripartite dialogue, and for the Philippine and other ASEAN governments to censure SPDC for its human rights violations and suppression of democratic forces in Burma," he said.

"They also said that they would be asking the Philippine government to take more effective measures on Burma."

Reporting by DVB

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