Mon party warn on border guard pressure

Sept 3, 2009 (DVB), A prominent ceasefire group in Burma has for the second time rejected the junta's plan to transform into a border guard militia, and warned against pressuring other groups to do the same.

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) had previously rejected approaches from the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to transform and reenter what te SPDC calls the 'legal fold'.

Growing government pressure on ceasefire groups is what sparked recent fighting in Burma's northeastern Shan state between a Kokang group and the Burmese army.

Leaders of the NMSP met with government officials last week for the first time since they rejected the government proposal in early August.

The SPDC's Major General Thet Naing Win was reported to have asked whether there was any other option acceptable to the NMSP, and NMSP leaders informed him of their policy of resolving political problems through political means.

They said that if the SPDC was not willing to initiate such a process, they would wait for the next government to do so, according to sources in the NMSP.

In the official letter sent to the SPDC, the Mon party said that it wanted to continue the ceasefire but that it was not going to accept any attempt to break the party away from its armed units.

It also urged the SPDC to stop all attempts to transform ceasefire forces into border guard militias and to release all political prisoners.

Following this, government officials in Karen and Mon states issued directives to local authorities urging them to be alert as armed groups, including the NMSP, were involved in demolition training courses. The NMSP have however refuted these claims.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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