July 7, 2009 (DVB)–An official from a Burmese pro-junta militia who met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon last week said the meeting was orchestrated by the government, who scripted all questions put to the Secretary General.
Representatives from seven pro-government ceasefire groups, including the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), met with Ban Ki-moon in the capital Naypyidaw during his trip to Burma last weekend.
The DKBA have been supporting the government in their offensive against the opposition Karen Naitonal Union, which has forced thousands of refugees into Thailand over the past month.
A DKBA official told DVB under condition of anonymity that their group’s representatives were not allowed to speak to Ban independently, but only could say what government had told them to say to him.
“Our representatives told us when they came back from [Naypyidaw] that there was no outcome [from the meeting] as they were not allowed to say what they had in mind to say,” the official said.
DKBA representatives had planned to discuss strategies to restore peace along the border areas in Karen state to prevent more fighting, said the official.
“But when they arrived [in Naypyidaw], government officials there gave them a piece of paper and told them to only say what was written on it.”
Representatives were unable to freely answer Ban’s question about the ongoing fights along the border, said the official, who added that state-run newspaper would then frame the meeting as a successful attempt at dialogue.
Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday that he was “deeply disappointed” with his two-day visit to Burma, having had his request to meet with imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi denied twice.
Observers have said that not enough emphasis was placed on tackling the issue of the relationship between Burma’s myriad ethnic groups and the predominantly Burman ruling State Peace and Development Council.
Reporting by Naw Noreen
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