Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tint Swe: support for Aung San Suu Kyi now that the embargo is removed

To rebuild the nation, says the NLD representative in India, we must share the work of the Nobel Laureate and create initiatives outside the Assembly, involving people. Applause for Europe’s decision to remove sanctions, the result of "geopolitical" interests but it will help the people.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The decision to remove the sanctions on Myanmar taken by the European Union is "political" and is powered by "economic interests" that revolve around a country that is opening up to the international community, says Tint Swe, exiled Burmese leader and representative of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in India, to AsiaNews. Commenting on the choice of Europe to lift the embargo on Burma, with the exception of the arms trade, he says it is weighed by "elements of a geopolitical nature" increasingly affecting the area, including the continued growth "of China and India which have become economic powerhouses" in every respect. To contrast their expansion the U.S. and the West in general need to promote relations with a country rich in raw materials, fuels and natural gas, although most of the population still lives in poverty. "Because - explains Tint Swe - businessmen reason the same way all over the world, from East to West."

Yesterday EU ministers agreed to suspend - for at least a year - sanctions against Myanmar's military regime, the decision will come into force in the next day and was adopted by the European Council held in Luxembourg as an "award" for recent changes in the country. Among these, the release of hundreds of political prisoners, the introduction of a form of trade union protection - in part - and the free elections, which brought opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 43 members National League for Democracy into Parliament, even if the Assembly is still firmly in the hands of the military-backed government.

Interviewed by AsiaNews Tint Swe, a member of the Council of Ministers of the National Coalition Government Union of Burma (NCGUB), composed of refugees from Myanmar from the 1990 elections won by the National League for Democracy, but never recognized by the previous junta led General Than Shwe, he explains the choice of Europe on sanctions "is in their mutual interest of Burma and the West. To Burma as a nation - he adds - and not only for the benefit of the regime." The exiled Burmese who fled to India in 1990, stresses that Myanmar "needs the help of Western countries to promote sustainable development" and the new generations of Burmese "are fed on Asian values" and "aspire to the level of life" reached in other nations.

Also yesterday, in the capital Naypyidaw, the first session of Parliament took place which saw the entry of some forty members of the opposition. The appointment was boycotted by Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD colleagues, in a controversy related to the oath of Parlaiment. It provides that members swear to "safeguard" the Constitution, while the opposition wants only to ensure to "respect" it. This is the first real battle since the start of the reformist campaign of the president of Burma, Thein Sein, a former army general, and focuses on a constitution voted in May 2008 in the midst of a national emergency caused by Cyclone Nargis. According to the Democrats the vote was rigged and voters subjected to undue pressure. In fact the constitution grants de facto power to the military. One of the first objectives of the Nobel Laureate and her party is to amend the Charter.

"I fully agree with the decision," said Tint Swe. He explains that "the NLD is not just a party that aims at seats and positions. [Its members] have promised voters that the Democrats aim to change and amend the Constitution." Aung San Suu Kyi, continues the exile and NCGUB representative, also explained that "this is not a boycott," but the search for a "compromise" that kicked off with decision "to participate in elections. Now it is up to the other parties to accept this compromise."

The NLD delegate in India describes the people's expectations of the "Lady" and her party "understandable", because "they have lived under a brutal repression for more than half a century." They know, she continues, how terrible it must be "to spend even one night in jail." "The support and pressure of the people - concludes Tint Swe - is essential for the NLD and the democratic forces." However, Aung San Suu Kyi "can not do it alone" and the task of rebuilding the nation "must not only take place in Parliament, extra-parliamentary initiatives are also crucial." (DS)