Indonesia meeting pressured by Burma junta

Aug 13, 2009 (DVB), An "historic" meeting of Burmese opposition groups in Indonesia was yesterday forced to relocate following pressure from the Burmese junta on the Indonesian government to block the meeting from going ahead.

Yesterday delegates from the Movement for Democracy and Rights for Ethnic Nationalities (MDREN), a coalition of Burmese opposition groups, were due to meet at the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel in Jakarta.

According to the participants, the Burmese government reportedly asked the Indonesia government to ban the meeting, so it was relocated yesterday midday to the Indonesian parliament building .

"The meeting was attended by foreign diplomats, representatives from activist groups and members of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus," said Thaung Htun, spokesperson for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).

Yesterday's move to the parliament building reportedly brought more delegates and media officials.

"We had a big support from the Indonesian parliament members and we managed to discuss a lot on what to do next following the sentencing of Daw Ang San Suu Kyi," said Thaung Htun.

The prime minister of the NCGUB, Sein Win, had previously said that the convention was "history being made".

"The proposal envisages opening a process of dialogue with the junta, effectively offering a sustainable exit-strategy for the military rulers," said a statement on the MDREN website.

According to Khin Omar, chairperson of the Network for Democracy and Development, the meeting will cover a wide range of issues.

"We proposed [suggestions] regarding national reconciliation, particularly what kind of changes we need to make in the 2008 constitution, how to bring changes to the economy and security issues in Burma."

The meeting will continue today at the Human Rights Commission Office in Jakarta.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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