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call for unity

[The Australian  Tuesday 28 November 1995]

Rangoon: Old heroes of Burma's independence struggle have urged the 
country's military regime to begina dialogue with democracy movement 
leader Ms Aung San Suu Kyi for the sake of a peaceful and united 
Word of the appeal is spreading in the capital on the eve of a 
national convention that will; be a test of wills between Ms Suu Kyi 
and SLORC....
A well-placed delegate to the convention told The Australia that Ms 
Suu Kyi's credibility was on the line following her cticism of the 
convention and rejection of the constitution it is designed to 
produce - one that would guarantee SLORC permanent and substantial 
I she and her National League for Democracy went along with 
convention proceedings on SLORC's terms. she would be "down the 
This session of the convention will deal with the key issues of the 
roles of the executive, the legislature ans the judiciary.
ALORC also raised the stakes yesterday with a bitter attack on Ms Suu 
Kyi, saying that speeches at her rallies almost amounted tp a ca;; 
"Rise up, peasants", and suggesting the movement should be held 
responsible if there riots in the country.
The delegate who did not want to be named... warned that unless all 
sides worled together, there as no way out. Asked if Ms SDuu Kyi's 
support among the people was holding, he said,"It is mire, more now". 
But he added, pretending to pull a trigger, the army has the gun and 
she has the people".
The call for dialogue was signed by 23 people who described 
themselves as having taken part inh various stages of the 
independence struggle against the Japanese and the British. They 
included 86 year old Mr Bohmu Ang, one of the 6 survivors of the 
legendary 30 Comrades who were the founders of free Burma. Ms Suu 
Kyi's father, Aung San was a member of the elite group.
The call was presented to SLORC on Friday afternoon. That night all 
23 were informed that they would be taken in for a "briefing" the 
next day. The "briefing" led by the Home Minister, Mr Tin Hlaing and 
involving police and intelligence chiefs lasted from late morning to 
Sources say that one of the "briefers" became very angry and accused 
the signatories of being an " offshoot of the axe handle of the 
imperialists", a reference to Ms Suu Kyi. They were asked which 
imperilaist had asked them to write the letter.
Mr Bohmu Ang replied that they had written the  letter because they 
really believed that dialogue should happen.
In the Rangoon hothouse, conspiracy theories are flourishing. On is 
that SLORC itself instigated the letter to give it a face saving 
avenue towards talks with Ms Suu Kji.
Another is that Burma's 84 year old former dictator, General Ne Win 
was behind it. General Ne Win, so the argument goes is still a force 
in the shadows. He wants to be resurrected as the benefactor of the 
people and is encouraging a dialogue for peace.
A call for dialogue has also been made by the Shan National League 
for Democracy, which has the second largest partyn representation at 
the convention dominated by SLORC-controlled delegates.