BURMA: SENIOR BURMESE MILITARY OFFICIAL SAYS OPPOSITION LEADER SUU KYI'S ALTERNATIVE CONSTITUTION PLANS ARE ILLEGALRecord ID: 639729
- Title: BURMA: SENIOR BURMESE MILITARY OFFICIAL SAYS OPPOSITION LEADER SUU KYI'S ALTERNATIVE CONSTITUTION PLANS ARE ILLEGAL
- Date: 7th July 1996
- Summary: RANGOON, BURMA (JULY 7, 9, 10, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) RANGOON, BURMA (10 JULY, 1996) 1. SLV LIEUTENANT GENERAL KYAW BA SEATED WITH REPORTERS 0.04 2. SCU KYAW BA SPEAKING (ENGLISH) 0.52 3. SLV REPORTERS SEATED WITH KYAW BA 1.03 4. KYAW BA ANSWERING QUESTION (ENGLISH) 1.18 (JULY 9, 1996) 5. SLV SUU KYI WITH INTERVIEWER 1.22 6. SUU KYI SPEAKING ABOUT CONSTITUTION (ENGLISH) 1.43 (JULY 7, 1996) 7. LV CROWDS OUTSIDE SUU KYI'S HOUSE 1.46 8. MV SUU KYI ADDRESSING CROWD 1.54 9. LV CROWDS LISTENING 2.01 TRANSCRIPT SEQ. 2. KYAW BA, "IF WE HANDED OVER THE ADMINISTRATION TO AUNG SAN SUU KYI, THERE IS A LOT OF ETHNIC GROUPS WHO HAVE BEEN REBELLING AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. ALL THESE PEOPLE WOULD AGITATE FOR THEIR INDEPENDENCE. WHO COULD CONTROL THAT? ONLY WE COULD CONTROL THAT, NOT TO DISINTEGRATE THE COUNTRY LIKE BOSNIA, YUGOSLAVIA. WE DON'T WANT OUR COUNTRY TO BE LIKE BOSNIA." TRANSCRIPT SEQ. 4. (REPORTER ASKS, "SO ANYBODY ELSE WHO TRIES TO DRAFT THEIR OWN CONSTITUTION..?") KYAW BA, "THAT WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE AND WOULD NOT BE LEGAL. THE CONSTITUTION MUST BE DRAFTED WITH ALL THE PEOPLE, ALL THE CITIZENS, ALL THE ETHNIC GROUPS." TRANSCRIPT SEQ. 6. SUU KYI, "WE DON'T REALLY HAVE MUCH TO TALK ABOUT, DRAFTING THE NEW CONSTITUTION. I AM ASKED BY JOURNALISTS WHETHER WE INTEND TO CARRY ON WITH THE DRAFTING OF A NEW CONSTITUTION, AND I'VE SAID YES. THE PARTY CONFERENCE GAVE US THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DRAWING UP A DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND WE SHALL GO AHEAD WITH THAT. WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO SAY. THE PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE PRESENT NATIONAL CONVENTION OR THE CONSTITUTION THAT THEY ARE DRAWING UP SO THERE IS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT." Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA4NKRBHYZI2EXZ6J8ZVK2EVJJC
- Location: RANGOON, BURMA
- Country: Burma (Myanmar)
- Duration: 00:02:02
- Story Text: - INTRO: A senior Burmese military government official said on Wednesday that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's plans to draft an alternative constitution were illegal.
----------------------------------------------------------- Nobel Peace prize winner Suu Kyi said on Wednesday her National League for Democracy (NLD) had asked its leadership in May to write an alternative charter to a pro-military one being drafted, but a senior Burmese military government official said the move was illegal.
"That is not acceptable and is illegal," Lieutenant-General Kyaw Ba, a member of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), told Reuters in an interview.
"The constitution must be drafted by all kinds of people, all ethnic groups and different levels of people," he said.
Suu Kyi's NLD in November pulled out of a SLORC-appointed convention that has been ordered to ensure that the new constitution it is drafting guarantees the military a "leading role" in politics.
The SLORC last month introduced a law forbidding anyone from interfering with its convention or drawing up a rival charter, allowing for 20-year jail terms for offenders.
Kyaw Ba also said the military could not hand over administration to Suu Kyi as the nation's many ethnic groups might, in a chain reaction, agitate for independence.
He did not say explain how a government led by Suu Kyi might incite secession but said there was a fear that Burma could become another Yugoslavia if its many ethnic minorities started seeking independence.
"At the moment there is no one else who can handle Myanmar (Burma) politics... Only we can control them (minority groups) and not let the country disintegrate like ... Yugoslavia." Kyaw Ba, who is also hotels and tourism minister, said Suu Kyi should not criticise the SLORC but cooperate with it as it tried to lay a firm foundation for a strong future government.
"Before we hand power to a civilian government we must have a very firm foundation...a firm constitution. Only then can we have a firm government and then I think we can hand power to a civilian government," he said.
Asked when a constitution might be ready and a power transfer from the military might take place, Kyaw Ba said: "It must take time. After drafting the constitution we must get the opinion of the people through a referendum.
"I think it will take a couple of years," he said.
Suu Kyi, who was released from six years of house arrest a year ago on Wednesday, has demanded a dialogue with the military on political reform but said on Wednesday that the SLORC was afraid of negotiating with her.
"Things don't stay the same forever," said Suu Kyi when asked how the current impasse with the SLORC might be broken.
Suu Kyi claims she has the support of the majority of the people based on communications with party cells at village level nationwide. The NLD's sweeping 1990 election victory, which was not recognised by the military, is evidence of her support, a senior party official said.
But the military is not convinced.
Asked about boycott calls against Burma by some Western countries and rights groups in support of Suu Kyi's democratic path, Kyaw Ba said his country was not unduly worried.
Some of the top investors already in Burma were from the United States and Australia where the cries against Rangoon were shrill, he said.
Burma also had a true friend in the seven-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which refused to interfere in Burma's internal affairs and whose members invested in Burma despite calls to the contrary by Suu Kyi, Kyaw Ba said.
"We are self-sufficient. As long as we have good leaders and good friends and neighbours like ASEAN we don't have to worry," he said.
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