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Reuters INTERVIEW-Myanmar oppositio

Subject: Reuters INTERVIEW-Myanmar opposition waves olive branch 

INTERVIEW-Myanmar opposition waves olive branch
01:05 a.m. May 27, 1999 Eastern
By Sutin Wannabovorn

BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Myanmar's opposition is waving the olive branch
to the ruling military on the ninth anniversary of its sweeping victory in
1990 general elections that the generals ignored.

``I think they (the ruling State Peace and Development Council) are trying
to find a way to come up with dialogue with the National League for
Democracy (NLD),'' the opposition party's vice president Tin Oo told Reuters
in a telephone interview.

``We are quite optimistic that they will come up with dialogue. We have our
door open. If they are genuine and sincere about democracy, it can be
dialogue at anytime,'' he said.

``It does not matter whether it starts from a lower level or higher level.
And it can begin from the lower level,'' Tin Oo added. ``The dialogue effort
has met with deadlock in the past because of some arguments about the
starting from the top level...I mean top levels from their side and our

More than 500 senior NLD members from across Myanmar had started to arrive
in the capital Yangon for the election anniversary celebrations at party
headquarters, he said.

``We are commemorating and celebrating the ninth anniversary of our election
victory at party headquarters. There will be a gathering of NLD members from
various states and the countryside. About 500 of them have already arrived
in Yangon,'' Tin Oo added.

The party's leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whom the SPDC has
said is a stumbling block to dialogue in the past, was due to make the
keynote speech.

``Aung San Suu Kyi will give a speech pointing to the future of our movement
and our struggle today,'' he said.

Last year, for the first time since the controversial elections in 1990, the
government allowed the NLD to hold a gathering to mark the event.

A government spokesman said they would be allowed to gather on Thursday as
long as rules governing public gatherings were observed.

The NLD swept 392 of 450 parliamentary seats up for grabs in the 1990 polls,
but the then ruling military government did not recognise the results.

Over the years the military has detained and later released thousands of
opposition members, curbed the NLD's political activities and refused to

hold dialogue with the NLD if Suu Kyi was on the opposition team for the

Suu Kyi, released from six years of house arrest in 1995, upped the ante
last August, calling for the convening of a Peoples Parliament comprising
elected members of parliament from the 1990 poll.

This angered the SPDC which then clamped down hard on her and the party's
activities and detained many NLD MPs to prevent them from convening the

Tin Oo said about 100 NLD MPs were still being detained by the government.

He added that Suu Kyi would detail the activities of the 10-member Committee
of Representatives of the Peoples Parliament at Thursday's gathering. The
committee was formed last September in the absence of a Peoples Parliament.

``The military refused to convene parliament. So we to have to form the
(committee) and convene our own parliament in accordance with the law,'' Tin
Oo said.

Not all NLD MPs, however, agree with the People's Parliament idea. A handful
of party dissidents have opposed the idea saying it may not be the best way
to deal with the ruling generals and to attain more democracy in Myanmar.

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