Thursday, 31 July 2008

Junta Slams Exile Group’s UN Campaign

The Irrawaddy News

Burma’s state-run press on Tuesday attacked an exile group’s campaign to have the UN declare the newly approved constitution illegal and unseat the military government from the international body.

The New Light of Myanmar published an article about Maung Maung, the secretary-general of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) and other groups in exile that do not recognize the Burmese government as a legitimate member of the United Nations.

The newspaper said, “Some politicians of the Western bloc” and “some follower groups” were asking the UN to not recognize the junta-backed constitution, which was approved in a May referendum. The government announced that elections would be held in 2010.

“In respect to the sovereignty of a nation, neither international organization nor government has the right to interfere in the approval of a constitution that has been drawn in conformity with the nation’s prevailing conditions,” the newspaper said.

Burma’s political, economic and military affairs have never constituted a threat to the stability of the international community, neighboring countries or the region, the article said.

The article also blasted an open letter released by a group of politicians who won seats in Parliament in Burma’s 1990 election. The letter called the junta’s constitution illegal and urged the junta open a dialogue with opposition groups. The junta did not recognize the results of the 1990 election.

Gen Tamalabaw, the chairman of the NCUB, said in a July 18 letter to the US branch of the National League for Democracy in exile that the NUCB was preparing a campaign to publicize crimes committed by the junta.

The NUCB Web site said it plans to challenge the credentials of the Burmese government at the 2008 United Nations General Assembly session and object to its right to represent Burma at the UN.

Nyo Ohn Myint of the NLD in exile, who is close to NUCB chairman Maung Maung, said, “The NCUB’s agenda at the UN is to push the junta into a dialogue path.”

However, there is disagreement within Burma’s exiled opposition movement over the NCUB’s agenda, particularly within the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the Burmese government in exile, formed in 1991.

San Aung, a member of the NCGUB, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the government in exile didn’t agree with Maung Maung’s agenda because it had little chance of success and did not come from a collective leadership.

“At the last UN general assembly, 40 countries abstained in a vote on the Burmese junta’s human rights violations while 60 countries voted ‘yes’ against the junta and 20 countries voted ‘no’,” said San Aung. “I think a campaign to unseat Burma would be difficult.”

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