U Win Tin: Junta’s priority is elections, not easing sanctions

by Salai Han Thar San
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 21:49

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Burmese military junta’s priority is to get on with its planned 2010 elections rather than looking at easing western sanctions, leaving little chance of the junta supremo Snr Gen Than Shwe responding to detained opposition leader’s latest proposal, a senior member of her party said.

Win Tin, a Central Executive Committee (CEC) member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), on Tuesday told Mizzima that the chances of Than Shwe responding to the Nobel Peace Laureate’s letter, requesting a meeting with him, is slim as the military clique seems to be far too preoccupied with its planned elections.

On November 11, the detained Burmese democracy icon, through her party spokesperson Nyan Win, sent her second letter to Than Shwe requesting a face to face meeting to follow up on the work to help ease western sanctions.

Nyan Win on Tuesday told Mizzima that Than Shwe has not responded to the letter, which also requested permission to allow the pro-democracy leader to pay her respects to aging party leaders and to allow her a meeting at her home with the party CEC.

The senior opposition leader on Tuesday said, Burma’s military supremo Snr Gen Than Shwe is unlikely to respond to the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s proposal sent earlier this month, as the junta’s priority is its elections rather than easing sanctions.

Win Tin said, the military clique is unlikely to responds to the proposal as the 2010 elections are on the top of its agenda, compared to looking at easing western sanctions and engaging with the United States. “Sanctions do not constitute real problems for them [junta], as it does not hurt them much but creates slight difficulties in their relationship with the international community. But the elections are very important to them,” Win Tin said.

Aung San Suu Kyi on September 25 sent her first letter to Than Shwe offering to cooperate in easing sanctions. The junta responded to her proposal by granting her request to meet diplomats from the United States, European Union and Australia.

Besides, the junta also allowed the detained Burmese democracy icon to meet the junta’s Liaison Minister Aung Kyi and also the visiting US high-level delegation led by Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell.

The letters and the meetings came following the United States’ announcement of a new policy of engaging the generals in Burma while maintaining existing sanctions.

Nyan Win, while saying that so far there was no reply, said he is optimistic that something positive will turn up.

But Win Tin said, “This election will guarantee the rule of the military because it will be held based on the 2008 constitution. And the new Parliament and the new government will be controlled by this constitution that will guarantee the military’s rule for many years to come in Burma.”

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