Fri 25 Feb 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Myanmar’s military rulers Friday praised the “active role” of their hand-picked delegates to constitutional talks, but gave few details of the internationally condemned convention that resumed last week.
Unlike the last session of the national convention, also held at an isolated compound outside Yangon, the current round of talks features prominently in state media, where it has played second only to the fawning daily coverage of top generals.
“The people are now pleased as they learn through the media that the delegates are playing an active role in the national convention and they are doing so with peace of mind,” said Lieutenant General Thein Sein, who is first secretary of the government, known as the State Peace and Development Council, in the state-run New Light of Myanmar.
“The delegates are to be armed with perseverance, diligence and nationalist fervour and correct sense,” he said, warning that unspecified “internal and external destructive elements” wanted to derail the talks.
Thein Sein added that the military has seen to the delegates’ every need so they could concentrate on their work.
Those “needs” include top-rate medical facilities, a golf course and a theatre at the convention site, known as Nyaunghnapin camp, where more than 1,000 delegates are confined until the end of the session, expected in mid-April.
One delegate said he was using the National Convention to get much-needed dental work.
“I shall be going home with a brand-new set of teeth and a sound knowledge of the game of golf at least … all with the compliments of the convenor” Thein Sein told AFP.
The European Union, the United Nations and the United States have condemned the convention, which has been boycotted by the leading opposition party, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
She and the party’s vice chairman are under house arrest, and the party has refused to join the talks until they are released.
The convention aims at drafting a constitution to be put to vote as part of the junta’s “road map” to democracy.