NLD ordered to withdraw statement

Sep 25, 2008 (DVB), National League for Democracy leaders have been told by Burma's police chief to retract a statement they issued on 18 September calling on the authorities to form a constitutional review committee.

NLD chair U Aung Shwe and members of the party's central executive committee were summoned to the interior ministry today by police chief Khin Yi and told to withdraw their statement, according to party spokesperson U Nyan Win.

"The reason for the summons was the latest special statement-18 regarding the review committee," Nyan Win said.

"[Khin Yi said] the contents of the letter amounted to inciting the public and that we could be liable to prosecution and told us to withdraw it," he explained.

"We responded that we had reliable facts in the letter and that it was issued in accordance with politics and we said we could never withdraw it in any way."

The statement called on the authorities to convene parliament and to form a constitution review committee with representatives of all relevant parties which should revise the constitution within six months.

Unlike their previous declarations, the NLD's most recent statement called for the participation of army representatives, ceasefire groups, constitutional experts, ethnic nationalities and representatives of the NLD and other winning parties from the 1990 elections in the committee.

Nyan Win said it was not made clear what action the police chief would take if the NLD continued to refuse to withdraw the statement.

The warning comes shortly after the release of prominent NLD leader U Win Tin and as the party is making preparations for its 20th anniversary this Saturday.

"The anniversary ceremony will start at 12 noon. The main thing is that the chairman will deliver a speech at the ceremony and a statement issued by the NLD will be read out," Nyan Win said.

"As it is the anniversary, representatives from the outer regions are attending. Nothing special has been planned for the 20th anniversary," he said.

"Important matters regarding the release of political prisoners such as U Win Tin will be addressed."

U Win Tin and party chairman U Aung Shwe had a cordial meeting yesterday evening to discuss the party's future activities.

Many grassroots supporters and activists excited by the release of U Win Tin are expected to attend the ceremony.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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