05 October 2007
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
the Financial Mail of SA, the Myanmar Ambassador Speaks
Myanmar's ambassador to SA Ohn Thwin agreed to answer some of the
questions put to him by Amarnath Singh
Who or what is behind the demonstrations in Myanmar?
They are mainly members of the National League for Democracy (NLD),
which has steadfastly pursued confrontation against the government.
The government had to raise the price of fuel, and this was exploited
by the NLD to mount a political attack against it. The NLD instigated
riots and unrest and used the pretext of rising commodity prices to
destabilise the country.
Why is your government shooting peaceful protesters?
Unfortunately I cannot answer that as I can only present the big
picture based on guidelines of the government in Yangon.
How long can the situation go on?
As the government of the State Peace & Development Council has been
implementing disciplined democracy, it is quite natural to be faced
with some difficulties in the transitional period. Some internal and
external destructive elements are trying to disrupt the prevailing
peace and stability, but the council will never tolerate such
malicious acts and will take effective action against those committing
such acts in accordance with the law.
When will the council deal with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi?
The government has given many chances to Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD
party to join hands with it in building the nation. However, she
turned to confrontation and created disturbances in the country. She
will never change her attitude. She resided abroad for about 30 years
and married an Englishman. Her own father, Myanmar's national hero Gen
Aung San, wrote the original constitution in 1947 in which it was
clearly stated that whoever married a foreign citizen was not eligible
to take a leading role in the politics of Myanmar. Her trying to
infringe the constitution clearly shows that she is only a puppet of
the US and its Western allies.
Is Buddhism a force for instability?
Myanmar has a population of 56m, 89,5% practise the Buddhist faith.
There are more than 500 000 Buddhist monks in the country and its
citizens live in peace and abide by the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Therefore there is no reason for instability to arise.
Only 5 000 of the 70 000 monks residing in Yangon took part in the
demonstration there. Due to the instigation by members of the NLD,
younger monks, novices and some civilians disguised as monks took
part. The authorities at first tolerated the situation and handled it
with great care, but when NLD mobs, who were paid to join in, created
an uncontrollable situation, the authorities had to use force to quell
What have been the main achievements of the council?
The government has worked to bring insurgent groups back into the
legal fold, and Myanmar is today enjoying peace and stability that has
never before been achieved in its history.
After Myanmar adopted a market-orientated economic system - after 1996
- the GDP rose 8%/year. A new constitution is being drawn up based on
the culture of all ethnic groups and the basic principles adopted by
the national convention concluded on September 3. After it is drawn
up, there will be a referendum, then elections will be held and
whichever party wins the elections will form a new government.
Myanmar's human rights record was criticised at the UN last week.
Myanmar is accused of violating human rights because the US and the
West have not been given the opportunity through their puppets Aung
San Suu Kyi and her NLD party to govern a sovereign country like
Myanmar, which rejects the establishment of American military and
missile bases on Myanmar's soil as they would be able to target our
neighbours like India and China.
But SA and Asian counties in Asean have condemned the crackdown.
Unfortunately, I cannot answer that.