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AFP-Myanmar junta says democracy on

Subject: AFP-Myanmar junta says democracy on its way

   Myanmar junta says democracy on its way

   YANGON, May 27 (AFP) - A top-raking leader of the Myanmar junta promised
"democracy" in a speech Thursday on the anniversary of opposition leader
San Suu Kyi's 1990 election win.
   The junta's First Secretary Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt said Myanmar,
vilified in the West for gross human rights abuses and ignoring the election
result, was on the "right political track."
   "As there have been some allegations casting doubt on the political
of the nation, I wish to take this opportunity to state categorically that
Myanmar is on the right political track," he told visiting officials of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
   He said the junta's priorities were "peace and stability," but it had not
lost sight of its goal -- a "democratic system that is in keeping with the
conditions of the country as well as the aspirations of the entire people.
   "Once the constitution process is concluded, a constitutional government
will lead the nation," he said, adding the junta had already established a
"multi-party system."
   The National League for Democracy (NLD) party under Nobel laureate Aung
Suu Kyi won more than 80 percent of the parliamentary seats in 1990 but the
junta has refused to loosen its iron grip on power.
   Instead it has imprisoned hundreds of NLD MPs and supporters and driven
thousands of democracy activists into exile.
   Exiled students in Bangkok on Thursday slashed their arms with knives and
soaked Myanmar flags with blood outside Yangon's embassy in protest at the
junta's refusal to cede power to opposition democrats.
   Protestors in the the 200-strong crowd called on Myanmar's military
government to "immediately transfer political power to the parliament,"
elected in 1990.
   They also called on the government to release all political prisoners.
   On the eve of the anniversary of Myanmar's last democratic election, US
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington slammed the junta and
called on it to allow democratic reforms.
   In a statement to Radio Free Asia on Wednesday, Albright called on the
military rulers of the country formerly known as Burma to establish a

"meaningful dialogue with the democratic opposition."
   "Instead of yielding power, the military has abused it, denying the
of Burma not only democracy, but also virtually any free expression of
political and other basic human rights," she said in the statement which was
to be broadcast in Myanmar on Thursday.
   The junta has been drafting a constitution through a convention of
carefully chosen supporters, with no timetable given for its completion. The
NLD has boycotted the process.
   Aung San Suu Kyi last year called for a meeting of the parliament,
prompting a government crackdown on NLD members which has seen thousands
official "resignations" from the party.
   Khin Nyunt was opening a meeting of the ASEAN chambers of commerce an
   Myanmar became a full member of the regional bloc in 1997.
   Apart from Myanmar, ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.