Wed 26 Sep 2012
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
A key adviser to Burma’s president who heads up the peace negotiating team is paying his own expenses while on peacemaking missions to ethnic armed groups, according to a report on the Shan Herald website on Friday.
Presidential office Minister Aung Min reportedly told Karen sources that, “Until now there has been no state budget headings [for the peace process]…also the Parliament has yet to allocate us any cash.”
In funding his own efforts, he said, “I regard this as merit-making. So we are putting all our hearts and souls in the work.”
The lack of government funds hit hard with Shan State Army (SSA) leader Yawdserk, who had invited a dozen media people from Thailand to Kengtung, where the second round of Union level peace talks took place on May 19, said the report.
“Since they were his guests [Yawdserk's], the government refused to be responsible for their accommodations. In the end, Sao Yawdserk was obliged to pay,” said one of his aides at that time. “Cost us more than 80,000 baht (around US$ 2,700) just for the media.”
Aung Min reportedly told one of the Shan participants at that time, “Fortunately, my parents had left me a big parcel of land. I won’t get poor even if I spend 1 million kyat (US$ 1,000) a day.”
These revelations have cause ethnic groups to wonder about the central government’s sincerity in the whole peace process.
“It is as though the Thein Sein clique had told him: If you want to do it, do it from your own pocket,” Rimond Htoo, a Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) leader, was quoted as saying.