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Burma needs wide-ranging international pressure for political change

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The talk concerned a Burmese delegation led by Colonel Than Aung, leaders of the Kachin Consultative Council and KIO military wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said KIO Joint-Secretary La Nan. KIA leaders included vice-chief-of-staff Brig-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw and Battalion 4 commander Colonel Zau Raw, he added.

It has not been confirmed so far whether the KIO and Burmese delegation have reached an agreement, with Kachin sources saying further talks between the two sides were likely in the event of a stalemate.

The KIO has offered to end ongoing fighting if the government will commence talks for a nationwide ceasefire. But Burmese government authorities did not show any positive signal, according to La Nang, a spokesman for the KIO.

Prior to Burma Army and KIO ceasefire negotiation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed a meeting between Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese Government minister Aung Kyi on 25 July, and urged the Government to consider release of political prisoners, according to a statement issued by a spokesperson, as informed by the UN News Centre.

Releasing all remaining political prisoners is the sole most vital step that authorities in Myanmar (Burma) can take, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said on 29 July, expressing hope that the Government of the Asian nation will soon take steps towards greater democracy.

In addition, Mr. Ban telephoned earlier Friday with Wunna Maung Lwin, Myanmar's Foreign Minister, just days after he paid tribute to a meeting between a Government minister and Burma's key prominent opposition figure.

In his conversation with Wunna Maung Lwin, Mr. Ban highlighted that he had publicly welcomed the reform measures announced by the new Government, according to his spokesperson.

"He hoped that the Government would now move toward concrete action and take the country forward towards peace, democracy and prosperity."

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 The Secretary-General also expressed his concern to the Foreign Minister about the ongoing warfare involving some armed groups and the impact of that on civilians, saying the Government must resolve the situation peacefully.

However, the issues of releasing political prisoners and ceasefire with ethnic rebels are still unresolved in the new cabinet as vice-president Tin Aung Myin Oo's faction has been objecting, as said by some observers inside Burma.

According to a source said, President Thein Sein wants Burma Army to withdraw away from the headquarters of the ethnic groups. But, Tin Aung Myint Oo does not agree with Thein Sein. He considers the military maneuver must continue although there are food-shortage problems inside the frontline armed forces. The disagreement between "soft-liner" President Thein Sein and "hardliner" Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo were considerably inflexible, it seemed the new government could not go further with the two hot issues -- free political prisoners and ceasefire with ethnic rebels.

Eventually, Than Shwe crossed the line and provided resolution, a source said.   Thein Sein and Tin Aung Myint Oo have to stay at status quo serving unity of the armed forces. By following Than Shwe's advice, Burma Army has to be maintained unity. The source said it has a document in possession to support his report, According to (S.H.A.N.).

On the other hand, releasing political prisoners and calling peace to armed ethnic groups would provide evidence to the international community that government is really bringing about political change and embracing genuine democratic values.

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But, presently, Tin Aung Myin Oo has becoming a barrier on the way to Burma's political restructuring. He became a hard-line vice-president in the new government as the representative of the military bloc. Tin Aung Myint Oo (62) won the Thiha-Thura courage award in fight against Communist rebels in the 1980s. He took charge victorious operations against Communist troops in Eastern Shan State in September 1988, which led to a cease-fire agreement in 1989. He was promoted to secretary-1 when Thein Sein became prime minister in 2007.

In July 2010, Tin Aung Myint Oo traveled to China to meet with Chinese leaders to discuss the issue of ethnic rebels along the Sino-Burma border. As a pro-China, Tin Aung Myin Oo relies too much on China. With China's backing, he believes Burma can neglect Western sanctions and pressures.  

Therefore, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should not think that establishing democratic transformation in Burma is too easy to proceed.   In his March report to the UN Human Rights Council, Ojea Quintana said that a pattern of "gross and systematic" human rights violations in Burma had persisted over a period of several years and still continued. He suggested that a specific fact-finding UN Commission of Inquiry to be convened as soon as possible to scrutinize the series of international crimes.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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