Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Largest Mon political party attends secret meeting with Burmese general

Mon Son, Rai Maraoh

(Mon News) -Officials from the largest Mon political group have recently concluded discussions with Burmese government military commanders. Details could not be confirmed, but recent visits by Burmese government officials to ethnic ceasefire groups have dealt with transforming ethnic armed groups in to border guard forces in advance of the 2010 election.

On June 7th, New Mon State Party (NMSP) chairman Nai Htaw Mon, Joint Secretary Nai Chan Toi, Central Executive Committee Nai Htar Wara, Major General Jeya, and Central Executive Committee (CEC) member Nai Tala Nyi met with South East Command General That Naing Win at about 9 am at the South East quarter in Moulamine in Mon State.

“It is a secret meeting with the South East Commander, and we can’t say what we talked about in the meeting. We don’t want to announce about that,” said Nai Tala Nyi, the CEC member from Moulemin.

In early March NMSP chairmen and vice chairmen met with Lt. Gen. Ye Myint at the Southeast Command headquarters in Moulmein.

Lt. Gen. Ye Myint is chief of Military Affairs Security, an agency that has succeeded the previous military intelligence program after its chief, Khin Nyunt, was purged in closing the program in 2004. Before his departure, Khin Nyunt brokered ceasefires with over a dozen ethnic armed groups, including the NMSP in 1995.

At this time IMNA cannot confirm any topics of discussion between NMSP administration and South East Command General That Naing Win at the June 7th meeting. However discussions are being held throughout the country between Burmese government and ethnic groups over how to respond Burmese government pressure to form a Border Guard Force (BGF). General That Naing Win, according to an article from the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) on May 28th, assisted in the negotiations of forces from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Karen Peace Force (KPF) in becoming part of the new BGF.

The BGFs are intended to be battalions whose support will come from the Burmese government as training and weapons. At the same time according to Burmese government instruction, the BGF battalions must also discontinue the use of ethnic nationality based names, and must incorporate into its structure, soldiers and officers from the regular Burmese army.

The status of Burma’s armed groups is a sensitive question for Burma’s central government. Before it can continue its 7-step “road map” to “disciplined democracy” and the 2010 election, the Burmese government must first resolve the status of ethnic armed groups who, after ceasefires were signed in the 1990’s, maintained a relative degree of autonomy.

A variety of ethnic groups remain unresolved about the issue of forming BGFs. The NMSP has not yet been asked to form a BGF, according to MNSP party spokesman Nai Oung Mange, in an IMNA article published in late May. However the Irrawaddy news source has already reported that the NMSP has rejected Burmese government pressure to form a BGF. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), has not yet respond to the SPDC offer to become a border guard force. However a group of Kachin people posted an open letter to the KIA forces to turn down the Burmese government offer, according to the Kachin News Group website.

According to the Shan News agency and the Irrawady, both the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the KoKang group, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), met with General Ye Myint on June 7th and June 5th respectively, and have rejected the overtures of the SPDC to become a border guard force in the north.

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