No breakthrough yet in Burma talks, say democracy activists

By staff writers
October 6, 2007

Burma campaigners, including a leading group in the UK, say that people should not be deceived by media reports that there has been some kind of breakthrough in Burma because Senior General Than Shwe has agreed to talks. There has been no breakthrough, they declare.

Than Shwe has repeated a demand made to UN Envoys since 1992. That is, that the National League for Democracy must agree to stop calling for human rights and democracy, and stop calling for international support, as preconditions before they start talking.

“We have been here before,” said Mark Farmaner, Acting Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “The regime is still refusing to enter into genuine dialogue, Gambari’s mission has failed. We have to break out of this cycle. Ban Ki-moon must go to Burma and deliver a strong message to the regime that further delay is unacceptable. There must be deadlines set for the regime to enter into talks and begin reform, after which there will be consequences. He should have the backing of the United Nations Security Council in delivering this message.”

UN Envoy Ibrahim Gambari is expected to brief the United Nations Security Council today. There has been a dramatic escalation in human rights abuses in Burma since his first visit to the country in 2006, including a military offensive against civilian ethnic minorities in eastern Burma, and the recent brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in Rangoon.

“The invitation to Gambari to return to Burma in November is a classic delaying tactic by Than Shwe.” said Mark Farmaner. “He wants to string out the process as long as possible, hoping that by then the world’s attention will be elsewhere. Than Shwe is a specialist in psychological warfare, and has been using these skills to dupe the international community for many years.”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner of Free Burma UK on 02073244710.

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