Daily News- December 31 - 2001- Monday

  • Myanmar Govt Spokesman on Domestic Issues
  • EU "troika" to postpone visit

  • Myanmar Govt Spokesman on Domestic Issues

    YANGON, December 30 (Xinhuanet) -- A Myanmar government spokesman has elaborated the government's view and stand on domestic issues covering the status of the armed forces, insurgency and the role played by the armed forces.

    In an official statement issued here Saturday night, Colonel Hla Min, a high-ranking official of the Office of Strategic Studies of the Myanmar Defense Ministry, disclosed that the number of the current Myanmar armed forces totals 350,000, the majority of whom are army.

    He denied that it is aiming for 500,000. "That is not true, because Myanmar doesn't have any enemy or threat from outside," he said.He admitted that the Myanmar armed forces are one of the most ill-equipped ones in the world, adding that they are just trying to modernize or mechanize the present forces but are still unsuccessful.

    Relating to the country's insurgency, Hla Min said the insurgency started right after its independence in 1948, adding that the government has wasted time,energy, money in fight against the armed groups in the nation.He stressed the first focus of having peace and stability back in the country when the present government took over the state power.

    He disclosed that 98 percent of all the former armed groups have made peace with the central government with only 2 percent remaining to follow suit which are the Kayin and the Karenni groups."We are very patiently waiting for them to come back and join hands with us,"he said.

    Talking about Myanmar's future politics, he said that the country's new constitution designates that the military will have 25 percent of the seats in the parliament appointed by the commander and chief of the defense services.

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    Burmese paper reports Afghan crisis forced EU "troika" to postpone visit

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 30, 2001
    Text of report in English by Burmese newspaper The Myanmar Times web site on 24 December; subheading as published

    The crisis in Afghanistan has forced the European Union "troika" team to postpone a visit to Myanmar [Burma] until early in 2002, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs U Khin Maung Win said last week.

    The three-member mission, which has a mandate to assess political developments in Myanmar, had been due to make its second visit during December. But it was not likely to visit until February, a senior government official said.

    "Due to the crisis in Afghanistan and other internal EU events, the schedule for the remainder of this year was simply too tight to coordinate such an important troika visit," an EU official told Myanmar Times.

    In its last review in October, the EU said it was cautiously encouraged by change in Myanmar's political climate. The troika mission made a second visit to Yangon [Rangoon] last January, as reported in Myanmar Times ("Hope for progress but no verdict until April", page 1, Vol 3, No 49). Its first visit was in June 1999.

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