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The Nation news (3-5-99)

<center><bold>Suu Kyi's Party hits out at renegade MPs


Rangoon -Aung San Suu Kyi's Burmese opposition has furiously turned on a
group of its MPs, brandingthem "lackeys"of the junta after they called
for talks with the party's bitter enemies in the military. 

In a sharply worded statement received here at the weekednd, party
leaders accused three MPsof " collusion with the military intelligence"
for questioning opposition tactics in the long struggle with the

" Three of our parliamentarians, who have vowed to fight for democracy
and human rights, have now become lack-eyes of the military
intelligence," said the statement issued by the National League for
Democracy (NLD).

The leadership, clearly angered by the appeal, accused the group of "
attempting to sow disunity" within the party. 

" We strongly condemn their despicable act," said the statement.

The three Mps targeted by the statement -Than Tun, Tin Tun Maung and Kyi
Win- are long standing NLD members elected in the party's crushing 199a
general election victory which the junta has never recognized.  All three
have been recently detained by the military during a country-wide sweep
against the NLD apparently designed to crush its political network.

The Mps were behind a letter sent to NLD leaders urging fresh attempts
which is accused by the party and foreign groups of gratuitous human
rights abuses. 

The letter, obtained by AFP, said Suu Kyi's call last year for a meeting
of a parliament elected in 199a had badly backfired. 

It said the move had led to a political stalemate, encouraged the
government to systematically dismantle the NLD by arresting MPS and
triggered mass forced resignations from township organizations set up
with "great difficulty". 

"This stalemate has also slowed down economic development and much needed
foreign investment and strained international relations, " the letter,
signed in all by 25 NLD MPs said.  

Tremendous damage had also been inflicted by the continued closure of
universities and colleges by a military government fearful of student
revolt, it added . The military government says it is always ready to
talk to the NLD but refuses to sit down with Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, whom
they regard as a traitor. 

NLD leaders say talks are impossible without the presence of the woman
regarded by many in Burma and abroad as a heroic figure of political

resistance.  However, the letter says dialogue is the only way out of
Burma's political quagmire. 

"We firmly believe that the authorities continue to leave the door wide
open for such a dialogue which would finally lead the way to democracy
and the acknowledgment of the 1990 general elections, " the letter said. 

In an interview, one to the instigators of the initiative urged the NLD
leadership to change tactics and fervently denied colluding with the
government . 

"We're willing to provide and alternative plan so both sides can save
their faces but it's too early at this stage to reveal it, " he said. 

It is understood that any such plan would recommend low- level contacts
between the military and the NLD to test the ground for full talks in
future.  The instigator of the letter, who asked to remain anonymous,
said that most of the hundreds of opposition NLD members detained in what
the government refers to as " guest-houses" had now been freed. 

Only those regarded as prime agitators are still in custody following the
crackdown, he said. 

However, large numbers of government opponents are still in jail on
politically motivated charges, say dissident groups and foreign rights

All efforts to unblock Burma's stalemate have so far foundered. 

A world Bank/United Nations plan to progressively match aid to political
reform is understood to political reform is understood to be still alive,
but only just, after it was revealed in media reports last year. 

Burma's community of foreign diplomats appers split between those who
believe Suu Kyi's war of attrition with the government is the only course
and others frustrated at the political impasse. 

The political climate was further poisoned in recent months by the
junta's refusal to grant a visa to terminally ill British husband of Suu
Kyi who succumbed to cancer in March.