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Burmese regime defiant over protests

Dec 4, 2007 (DVB), A Burmese government official played down the importance of the recent protests and said the regime would not include opposition views in the new constitution, in a press conference held yesterday.

Government representatives also blamed foreign powers and internal agitators for the public demonstrations staged in Burma in August and September.

Press conference 2/2007 was held at the Ministry of Information yesterday from 10.30am to 1pm and was organised by the SPDC's Information Committee to give the regime's account of the protests.

Coverage of the press conference, including statements by information minister Kyaw Hsan and police chief Khin Yi, and questions from media representatives and a foreign diplomat, dominated the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper today.

Kyaw Hsan blamed the international media for exaggerating reports of the protests in Burma.

"Actually, the August/September protests were trivial for the whole country and in comparison to other events in other countries," he said.

"However, the international media neglected the true facts [and] made exaggerations as [in]spired by the anti-government groups."

Kyaw Hsan also accused other countries of fomenting unrest within Burma.

"[S]ome nations including a western power misused UN Security Council, ILO and Human Rights Council to take one-sided action against Myanmar," said Kyaw Hsan.

"The anti-government groups inside and outside the country were given training, cash and kind assistance as well as directives and harmonization as regards the plots," he continued.

"The entire incident revealed that it was not the protest of public and the majority of monks based on dissatisfaction with the Government but the plotted scheme of a western power and antigovernment groups inside and outside the country and expatriates by misusing pessimist ex-convict bogus monks."

Kyaw Hsan rejected the idea of any outside assistance in moving forward with the government's programme, stating that "no assistance or advice from other persons is required".

He stated that the constitution would be drafted in accordance with the principles established by the National Convention, and dismissed the idea of giving opposition groups the opportunity to challenge these principles.

"Thorough discussions were made to get a consensus from those views, ideas and demands [for the National Convention]," he said.

"It is not reasonable or fair to review and amend those principles adopted by the delegates representing the entire people."

When asked about the prospect for talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and the government, Kyaw Hsan said that the NLD leader had not yet responded to the regime's announcement detailing its preconditions for dialogue.

The preconditions included a demand that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi drop her "confrontational" stance, and in particular that she stop calling for sanctions against the regime.

The German ambassador to Burma, Dr Dietrich Andreas, asked whether the NLD and other political parties would be able to participate in drafting the State constitution, Kyaw Hsan referred him to his earlier statement.

"We will continue to take measures as mentioned in the clarification. We will not sideline those opposing the seven-step Road Map and the detailed basic principles," he said.

"When a referendum is held, those in opposition will have the chance to cast votes together with the supporters."

88 generation student leader Nilar Thein dismissed the junta's claims and stressed the need for an inclusive dialogue.

"What Kyaw San said during the press conference is just the same old record the SPDC usually plays. But the whole world knows whether the people who joined the September protests were real monks and students or not."

"The political problems in our country can only be solved by political means in order to achieve peaceful resolutions."

Reporting by Aye Aye Mon and DVB

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