Importantweek forMyanmar’speace process
THE coming week is shaping up asa critical one or Myanmar’s peaceprocess, with two important meet-ings that could decide how Myan-mar moves on rom a hal-century o bloody ethnic conict. At least 16 ethnic armed groups willgather in Laiza rom October 30 to No- vember 1 to examine a drat ceasereagreement and decide whether to signthe nationwide ceasere proposed by the government. All armed ethnic groups, includingmembers o the United NationalitiesFederal Council, have been invited totake part in the meeting at the KachinIndependence Organisation head-quarters. As o October 25, 16 groupshad conrmed their attendance butthe KIO did not release their names. Although chie government peacenegotiator U Aung Min had requestedto attend as an observer, the govern-ment’s peace team has not been invit-ed, said U Daung Khar, a member o the KIO technical team in Myitkyina.“We want to know what will beincluded in the nationwide ceasereagreement. We will discuss the dratand nd suggestions on political dia-logue that we can put to the govern-ment,” said U Daung Khar.The meeting will be ollowed by negotiations between the groups whotake part in the Laiza conerence andthe government peace team in Myit-kyina on November 3 and 4. U DaungKhar said the two sides would sign anagreement – which is likely to containdetails on the ramework or politicaldialogue – in ront o local and interna-tional observers, including United Na-tions special envoy Vijay Nambiar andChinese special envoy Wang Ying Fan.“We will discuss again the points we have already agreed on with thegovernment peace team,” said UDaung Khar said. “But we need to getan ofcial agreement” on the nation- wide ceasere proposal, he said.The government wants to hold theceasere signing ceremony in Novem- ber and has invited all armed ethnicgroups to take part. While some havecommitted to signing, a number haveresisted because o concerns about theramework or subsequent politicaldialogue.U Shwe Khar, general secretary o the Chin National Front, which has been invited by the KIO to attend theLaiza meeting, said he expects the dis-cussion o the drat ceasere will gener-ate positive results or all stakeholders.“We are preparing now to discussuture political dialogue and con-dence-building among the ethnicarmed groups,” he said.However, peace acilitator U Hla Maung Shwe rom the Myanmar PeaceCenter said the government couldnot necessarily accept all the ethnicgroups’ proposed changes to the drat.He said the government had writ-ten the drat based on discussions with some armed ethnic groups, in-cluding the Karen National Union andthe Restoration Council o Shan State.“I think government will considerpoints proposed by the ethnic armedgroups. I the government agrees with what they ask, the nationwide cease-re can be held at the end o Novem- ber,” he said. “I it happens, we canopen the door to political dialogue.”
EI EI TOELWIN
‘We will discuss the[ceasefre] drat and fnd suggestions ... that we can put to the government.’
U Daung Khar
KIO technical team member
Myanmar Yachting Federation president and businessman U Moe Myint (centre) speaks on October 25.
Photo: Zarni Phyo
Yachting federation boss deflectscriticism over venue land dispute
MYANMAR Yachting Federationpresident and business tycoon UMoe Myint has denied any wrong-doing in a land dispute surroundingthe site o the ederation’s new NgweSaung venue, which will play host tosailing events during the upcomingSoutheast Asian Games.U Moe Myint has spent almostUS$17 million on the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club and Marina Develop-ment at Bu Kway Gyi village on NgweSaung beach, 50 kilometres (31 miles) west o Pathein in Ayeyarwady Re-gion. The development is being built by one his companies, Myint & As-sociates, and when complete will in-clude both a yacht club and a luxury hotel with 34 bungalows and 100rooms. The venue is 95 percent com-plete, according to the ederation.U Moe Myint’s company will op-erate the hotel ater the SEA Gamesnishes, paying annual rent o 1.5pco income to the Ministry o Sport, with a minimum o K15 million a year. Documents provided to
The Myanmar Times
at an October 25press conerence show that K9.64million (about US$10,000) was paidto the Ministry o Sport or the 9.64acres o prime beachront land that was used or the development.Residents in the area claim theland was orcibly taken rom themin 1997 by local military ofcials.U Moe Myint deended the dealor the yachting venue, saying nei-ther he nor the ederation wereresponsible or how the land hadoriginally been acquired or whatlevel o compensation the originalowners received.“In terms o land ownership andownership issues you have to ad-dress the questions to the Ministry o Sport,” U Moe Myint said. “[The venue] is just a task or responsibility that has been entrusted to us [by theMinistry o Sport].”Federation vice president U MyoTint said Myanmar company AungKyaw Zay had recently completedan environmental impact assess-ment that also included interviews with residents in the area. He saidhe could not comment on the report because he had not yet seen it. As previously reported by
The My-anmar Times
, three brothers – U SeinThan, U Soe Lwin and U Kyin Myint– say that they owned the land thatis being used or the yachting venueuntil 1997, when Major Yin Sein, who was then secretary o the districtPeace and Development Council,strong-armed them into selling theirplantations well below the marketprice under threats o violence. The brothers received just K1200 or eachtree as part o the deal.
The amount U Moe Myint has spenton the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club andMarina Development at Ngwe Saung
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No chance of Than Shwe return: speaker
FORMER Senior General Than Shweis worried about Myanmar’s politicalsituation but could not return to a po-litical role because the separation o powers in the constitution, Thura UShwe Mann says.“[Than Shwe] told me that he is worried about the present politicalsituation,” the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker said. He did not reveal thereasons or U Than Shwe’s concern.Speaking to reporters on October24, Thura U Shwe Mann, who is alsochairman o the Union Solidarity andDevelopment Party, said it would beimpossible or U Than Shwe to returnto politics.“We have already set up the par-liament, executive and judiciary sepa-rately so he cannot be involved in pol-itics,” he said. “As leader o Myanmar,he did his best or the people withgoodwill but everybody knows whatthe result was. I value his goodwill but we don’t have to like the result.”Thura U Shwe Mann said he andhis amily went to U Than Shwe’shome to pay homage on the ullmoon day o Thadingyut, which wasmarked this year on October 19. A high-ranking USDP ofcial, whoasked not to be named, said a num- ber o other senior USDP membersalso paid homage to U Than Shwe,including President U Thein Sein andU Htay Oo.
– Win Ko Ko Latt