Thursday, July 30, 2009

Snr-Gen Than Shwe rejects KIO's demands

by KNG

The Burmese military junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe has responded curtly and rejected the latest demands of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), said sources close to Naypyitaw, the capital of the country.

The military ruler was responding to the KIO's demands to the junta early this month regarding direct power sharing in the new Kachin State government after next year’s elections, where members of KIO have to be included in the administration, legislation and the judiciary.

Snr-Gen Than Shwe has said that the KIO's demands cannot be met at this point of time because the country's new constitution cannot be amended. If the junta has to give into KIO's demands, the constitution needs to be rewritten, he reportedly said, the sources added.

Naypyitaw sources said, Snr-Gen Than Shwe also rejected the other KIO demand to transform its armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to a Kachin Regional Guard Force (KRGF), which will be formed with only ethnic Kachins and not be controlled by the junta. The regime had proposed transformation of the KIA to a battalion-level Border Guard Force (BGF).

Snr-Gen Than Shwe has made it clear that he cannot negotiate any military or political demand of the KIO except the co-operational agenda between the two, Naypyitaw sources added.

"We proposed what we want to the junta, just as it proposed what it wants from the KIO," Dr. Manam Tu Ja, the Vice-president No. 2 of KIO and former leader of KIO delegates to the junta-run National Convention told KNG last week.

In the midst of growing tension between the KIO and the junta, both militarily and politically, the junta's Northern regional (Kachin State) commander Maj-Gen Soe Win met Kachin church leaders for the second time on the KIO's latest demands in Kachin State's capital Myitkyina yesterday. The meeting followed a suggestion by Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Saboi Jum, former general secretary of Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and a current peace mediator.

Political circles in Myitkyina said, the junta is mobilizing Kachin church leaders with small cash and food donations, granting cell phones, GSM mobile phones and landline phones so that church leaders can influence and pressurize the KIO/A on the BGF issue.

According to Kachin political analysts in Myitkyina, till now, the KIO has been enjoying a level of political and military rewards from the junta for supporting the National Convention for drafting the country's constitution and the referendum on the new constitution.

Now, the KIO is suffering because of the rewards that it took, where it is increasingly being pressurized to accept the BGF by the junta, said the local political analysts.

Meanwhile, Kachin people inside Burma and overseas have suggested that the KIO/A wage war if necessary against the ruling junta until Kachins and people of the country achieve democratic rights.

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