Fri 25 Feb 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Ethnic ceasefire groups said Friday they were still waiting for a regime response to their joint proposal for changes to the National Convention’s agenda.
The six ceasefire groups tabled seven demands days before the National Convention reconvened on February 17. They included a demand for a free discussion of the Convention’s â€œsixth objective,â€ which seeks to guarantee â€œmilitary participation in the future state.â€
No response to the demands has yet been received from the regime, according to James Lum Dau, of the Kachin Independence Organization, or KIO, on Friday.
The ceasefire groups also want the National Convention to change its requirement of consensus at panel sessions and urge the participation of different political movements. Armed groups should have observer status, they say.
Apart from the KIO, the ethnic ceasefire groups making the proposals are the New Mon State Party, or NMSP, the Shan State Army (North), or SSA-N, the Shan State National Army, or SSNA, the Kayan New Land Party, or KNLP, and the Karenni State Nationalities People’s Liberation Front, or KNPLF.
The SSA-N and the SSNA, which together comprise the Shan State Peace Council, or SSPC, are boycotting the National Convention, following the arrest of Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten, SSPC president. The regime has ignored appeals for his release, although Sao Khai Hpa, vice-chairman of the SSA-N is still negotiating the issue with the junta.
Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten was arrested by the military regime after attending a meeting in Taunggyi, capital of southern Shan State, in early February. According to Shan sources, the SSA-N and SSNA have their troops in northern Shan State on alert.
The National Convention, which is charged with drawing up a new constitution, is being held in Nyaung Hnapin, Hmawbi Township, about 40 km from Rangoon. The government says 1,075 of 1,081 invited delegates are attending. They include representatives of armed ethnic groups which signed ceasefire agreements with the military government after 1989.