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Efforts made by NLD for dialogue (E
Subject: Efforts made by NLD for dialogue (English)
National League for Democracy
No:(97/B), West Shwegondine Road
Bahan Township, Bahan
Efforts made by the National League for Democracy for dialogue and
1. The National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed on the 27 September
1988. From the start, one of the policies adopted was that in the task of
catching up with the rest of the world politically, economically, and
socially, we would work in accordance with the united wishes of all the
citizens of the Union. Also, it was openly declared that we would discard
the over forty years practice of settling disputes between the ethnic
nationalities by resort to arms but would settle the issues in a political
way. It was also our strong conviction that the only way to find solutions
to internal problems facing the country was by dialogue and negotiation.
To achieve that goal we have tried to meet with the State Law and Order
Restoration Council many many times. We set out below the many efforts made
by us since 1988 to negotiate with them.
2. In her travels throughout the country since October 1988, the first
message that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the NLD gave
was that the only and genuine democratic way to finding solutions was by
dialogue and negotiation.
3. In response to the above the authorities said that since there were over
200 parties, it would not be fair to the other parties to talk to one party
4. In the months of May to July 1989, approximately over one hundred
parties were permitted to register and the NLD held discussion with many of
them on several occasions. An alliance was formed with the agreement that
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be the spokesperson for this alliance should an
opportunity arise for talks with SLORC. The then chairman of SLORC was
General Saw Maung and in his speech to the nation on the 5 July 1989 said
that such talks could not be held and statements were made to the effect
that he felt he would be trapped if he had to hold talks with Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi who would be representing all the different parties.
5. At the beginning of the month of April of 1989, U Tin Oo, (Chairman of
the NLD) and U Aung Shwe, (NLD Central Executive Committee member) went to
pay their respects to the reverend Sanghas of the Sangha-maha-nayaka who
were residing at Kabaye. U Tin Oo respectfully petitioned them thus:- "The
SLORC government had not complied with the admonition given by
Ba-dan-ta-wunna-thiri on T.V during the 1988 crisis that the authorities
and the political parties meet and hold talks so would the reverend Sanghas
please remind and urge them to do so".
6. On 3.12.88, U Aung Shwe, (member of NLD) approached Captain Kyaw Nyein
who was then in the Military Intelligence (MIS) assisting unit, to obtain
contact with those in authority for discussions. Though the captain agreed
to make the necessary arrangements, nothing came of it.
7. On 15 July 1989, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, (General Secretary of the NLD)
and other members of the NLD met with members of the ethnic nationalities
at their head office in Bo Aung Gyaw Road. Their discussions were towards
giving priority to finding solutions for the future that would be good and
acceptable to all. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi emphasized that only by such
discussion and mutual exchange of ideas, solutions can be arrived at.
8. NLD Chairman U Tin Oo and General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were
placed under house arrest by the authorities from 20 July 1989. On 17th
July, Central Executive Committee member U Aung Shwe and Secretary U Chit
Khine, met General Than Shwe and Secretary (1) Lt General Khin Nyunt. Some
matters were discussed at that meeting but Lt General Khin Nyunt made it
specifically clear that it was not meant to be a "dialogue". Furthermore,
on 19 February 1990, General Than Shwe, Lt.General Khin Nyunt and Lt.
General Myo Nyunt met with U Kyi Maung (Central Executive Committee member)
and informed him of the program and work that they were engaged in. When U
Kyi Maung asked that there should be meetings and discussions the reply
given by Lt General Khin Nyunt was that what had been said by them could be
interpreted as "dialogue". The request for more such occasions on a
regular basis was made. Shortly after that, when U Chit Khine met with
Secretary (1) he was informed that Major Win Naing from an MIS assisting
unit had been given the duty of intermediary. U Chit Khaing met with Major
Win Naing on three occasions regarding several matters after which he was
instructed to make all further submissions in writing. As directed,
written communications were made after that but they were all ignored.
Post election period.
9. In June 1990 after the general elections, a request in writing was made
to SLORC for a meeting and discussions. On 11 July, 1990, SLORC Secretary
(1) held a press conference where he stated "arrangements were being put
in place for them to meet all the successful candidates in the elections
who were leaders and People's Parliament representatives and for this
purpose letter dated 11/7/1999 had been sent to the respective political
parties. This has been written and sent to all. We intend to hold
discussions with all the political parties and individuals that have been
successful in the elections. It is not just to one political party this
letter has been sent. " But SLORC has failed to act according to their
words. It is not just us who know. The entire world is aware of this.
10. On 28 and 29 July 1990, a meeting of People's Parliament
representatives which was organized by the NLD, issued the Gandhi
Declaration in which it was also stated that
(a) We are fully aware of the current difficulties in the transition from a
one party to a multi-party system. We are wholly convinced that solutions
can be found only by mutual respect, frank and honest discussions of the
issues by the National League for Democracy and the State Law and Order
Restoration Council in a spirit of national reconciliation while adhering
to democratic principles.
(b) Our belief for maintaining and declaring that internal current disputes
in our country must be amicably settled by face to face discussions is
because we have adopted and laid great stress on this pattern of meeting
together and discussing.
11. The NLD's statement dated 17 September 1990, clarifying the decisions
taken at the Central Committee's meeting (9/90) :- clearly acknowledges
that "In accordance with the stated policy of the National League for
Democracy that we will work for the good of all the people and as stated
in the Gandhi Declaration it is our belief that only by face to face
meetings and negotiations in a spirit of general harmony can solutions be
found to the political problems that we are currently facing in this
country. " This is a factor, which is evidence of our efforts to bring
12. On the 29 August, 1990, the NLD and the United Nationalities League for
Democracy(UNLD) issued a statement on the current situation of the state
and one of the resolutions mentioned was "that authorized representatives
of the NLD and representatives of SLORC are urged to meet immediately and
negotiate". However, there was no response to this.
National Convention period
13. At the coordination meeting for the convening of the National
Convention, U Aung Shwe, (Chairman of NLD) made the following statement on
June 23 and 30, and July 10, 1992. "If, with all honesty and clean, open
and virtuous minds we hold deliberations without any discrimination
whatsoever against ethnic groups, religious groups, rich or poor, people of
different occupations, then the greatest benefit can be achieved for all
the people in the country and the valuable goal we hope to reach - a
democratic and prosperous system - will truly and surely be born and
14. At the National Convention, which commenced on 9 January 1993, we
repeatedly made this point. The following passage appears on page 27 of
NLD's suggestions presented on 7-2-94 at the discussions on the subject of
The State, The Constitution and its formulation, and The President :- "In
any matters whatsoever, we can only overcome problems if we meet and have
discussions, free of prejudices and in a charitable spirit placing the good
of the country as the sole objective. Problems that occur in a family are
solved through discussion and negotiation. We find a common denominator to
solve mathematical problems in fractions. Discussions have good results.
Therefore, to write a sound and lasting constitution and establish a new
state, the time is ripe for the government and those of us who are engaged
in this work to meet face to face and hold discussions. In every situation
where there is compromise (give and take) problems are solved. It is a law
of human nature".
15. Also, on the 24 March 1994, at a meeting of the National Convention
Committee and the group of chairmen, U Thar Zan Hla (authorized leader of
the NLD team) suggested that on issues where there was dissent, face to
face discussion should be held between the National Convention Committee
and the Chairman group.
Discussions that took place during Daw Aung San Suu's house arrest period.
16. On 20 September 1994, Daw Aung Suu Kyi (General Secretary of NLD) met
with and held discussions with SLORC Chairman , Senior General Than Shwe
and Secretary (1) Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt. Another meeting and discussion took
place on 28 October 1993 with Secretary (1), Brigadier Than Oo (Judge
Advocate General) and Brigadier Tin Aye (Inspector General). There were no
17. In connection with this matter, Colonel Kyaw Win (Deputy Director of
MIS) at a press conference on 11 February 1995 stated that Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi had not made further requests to meet with the leaders of SLORC.
However, when he was questioned about the request by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
for frequent discussions with the leaders at the time she was informed of
her release from house arrest on 10-7-95, his response was that there could
have been a mistake in the translation from Burmese to English of what he
had said. He undertook to make further clarification at later press
conferences but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that it would not be necessary
because she would clarify the matter herself.
Post house arrest period.
18. The day after her release from house arrest on 10 July 1995,Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi issued a Press Release wherein it was stated " Many
unbelievable changes have come about in the world during my period of
detention. The good thing was that dialogue and negotiation brought about
these changes. Therefore, there can be no doubt that the key to solving
long standing disputes and hurts is by discussions and negotiation. Thanks
be to the angels in heaven and to humans on earth".
19. When Colonel Kyaw Win informed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of her release from
house arrest he made remarks to the effect that in his opinion the present
circumstances were the result of misunderstanding because of little
contact. Frequent meetings and exchange of ideas would be a step in the
20. On the evening of the 27 July 1995, Col Kyaw Win and Lt. Col Than Htun
(Grade One Officer of MIS) went to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and made statements
that could be interpreted to mean that there would be consultations, in
response to which she said that regular meetings and talks was highly
desirable. After that, only Lt.Col Than Htun met her with the excuse that
Col. Kyaw Win was too busy with other tasks. In the next meetings, only
Lt.Col Than Htun came.
21. Every time Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met and discussed matters with Lt Col
Than Htun, she emphasized the necessity to avoid misunderstanding and for
this purpose there should be meetings and negotiations to bring about
beneficial results for the country. An early meeting was necessary to help
solve the problems that the people were facing and that her party was
always desirous to find solutions - this was the repeated message she was
giving. He then told her that there was a possibility of talks round about
November to which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi replied that this was too much of a
delay. She desired a meeting before the NLD convention.
22. On 8 September 1995, Ms. Madeleine Albright the permanent
representative of the United States of America visited Burma and met with
Secretary (1) who informed her that it would be sometime before talks could
be held but that it would not be before November and that Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi had accepted this fixture. When Ms Albright met with Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi and informed her of what she had been told by Secretary (1), Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi clarified the position and denied that she had agreed to such
23. A few days later, when Lt. Col Than Tun met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
this matter was brought up and he confirmed that she had not agreed to the
fixture of a meeting in November.
24. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi then contacted Lt. Col Than Htun and gave him the
message which was a resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the
NLD requesting a meeting with SLORC on a date prior to 10 October 1995 and
if the response was in the positive, a reply be sent to them before 1
October 1995. No reply of any sort was received. When inquiries were made
one of the MI team stationed in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's compound informed
her that Col Kyaw Win's reply was that since Lt Col Than Htun had been
assigned to duties outside the country she should await his return and
that the date for holding the NLD convention had been postponed to 28
25. On his return, Lt Col Than Htun contacted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and
contrary to the information that he had given before, all he said was that
prior notice of the date of the November meeting could not be given. He saw
her again in November and she informed him that she wanted the meeting to
be fixed for a date prior to 10 November and requested a reply on or before
the 1st November. She tried to contact him on the 1st of November but his
excuse was that he was busy with preparations for the Kathein (Buddhist
religious) celebrations after which there was no contact.
Efforts of other individuals
26. A letter dated 24 November 1995, addressed to both the Chairman of
SLORC and the NLD urging them to meet and discuss the current political
situation was written by twenty three experienced politicians and staunch
democracy supporters including Bohmu Aung, Thakin Chit Maung,, Thakin Thein
Pe. They were called in on 27-10-95 to meet with U Tin Hlaing, (Deputy
Home Minister), U Thein Sein (Deputy Information Minister), Col Soe Win
(Director General of Police), Col Kyaw Win (MIS) and were accused of
echoing the voice and message that Ms. Albright (USA representative) had
given. Those individuals reply to that was that they acted in the interest
of the country and that they were taking no orders from anyone.
27. The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy expressed similar
sentiments in a letter dated 26 November 1995 addressed to the Chairman of
SLORC and to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In a similar fashion they were called
up by the Home Ministry on the 27th and told not to be acting as followers
of the United States of America and the NLD.
Efforts by the leaders
28. The NLD prepared in detail the experiences, situations and resolutions
taken in the past three years for U Kyi Maung, U Tin Oo, and Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi, the three who had returned to the party. Based on the above facts
a paper was prepared and confirmed by the five leaders on the 2nd November.
This was then summarized and presented at the NLD Convention as a statement
of NLD's position which was signed and approved by the Central Executive
Committee. The conclusion of that paper stated that solution for
(a) National reconciliation,
(b)Creation of genuine multi-party democratic system,
(d) Production of a constitution acceptable to most of the citizens
can only be arrived at through meeting and negotiation.
29. On 1 December 1995, at Number 54/56 University Avenue, the NLD
Convention was held attended by the Central Executive Members and NLD
representatives. A paper entitled "The way of negotiation with dialogue"
was confirmed and a copy of the same was posted to the Chairman of SLORC
on 1/12/95 .
30. Similarly a letter was posted to the chairman of SLORC on 26/2/96. Sr
Gen Than Shwe made a speech on 27 March 1995 and sated that " If the peace
and tranquility of the nation is not effected, and if it will not cause
deterioration to the prosperity of the country the Military has no reason
to seek revenge. The Military's program for reconciliation of the nation
includes all aboveground political parties. We have always stated that we
are always striving to work with the political parties. This being our
basic attitude I have recommended that we make urgent arrangements to meet
face to face with the NLD which is a legally constituted political party".
31. From the above, it is very obvious that since its inception on the 27
September 1988, the NLD has always tried to solve political, economic and
social problems through negotiations and discussions. SLORC appears to
have started to adopt that road again and again, but they have steadfastly
failed to follow through.
32. Simultaneously, at government sponsored public meetings and in
newspaper articles, SLORC leaders have accused and slandered the NLD and
treated it as an enemy of the state threatening to completely annihilate it.
33. We specially make this point that at the 1990 May general elections,
the NLD gained 82 % of the votes which is a resounding demonstration of the
peoples will. To threaten and treat the NLD that has the support of the
people amounts to ignoring the will of the people and to do so for this
length of time is an impossible situation.
34. Shortly after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, she
often spoke to the members of the party and the people that it was up to
each individual to find ways and means to obtain democracy that was
cherished so much by them. They should not wait for this or that to
happen. They should be creative and follow appropriate political
strategies. No matter what difficulties or obstacles they faced, the NLD
would with a calm spirit and steady persistence, work towards achieving
genuine democracy for Burma. Therefore the NLD would continue to make
overtures for meetings and negotiations for finding solutions to problems.
The door would always be open for that purpose.
Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy
13 May 1996.
(For NLD members only)