Minister Aung Min seeks talks with Thailand-based groups

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Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese presidential special peace envoy and Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min has offered two exile-based democratic groups to meet for political talks the first week of February, said group leaders.

General-Secretary Dr. Naing Aung of the Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB), which consists of seven organizations, said that peace facilitators Hla Maung Shwe and Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing conveyed the message verbally. The same message was given to Aung Moe Zaw, the chairman of the Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS).

“They told me that this was an official offer from the government minister and special envoy for peace…for informal talks,” Naing Aung told Mizzima.

Naing Aung, who is also the director of the Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), said that he had informed member organizations.

The FDB was formed to work for the “emergence of a democratic transition which will lay down foundations for good government, rule of law and justice” in early 2004 with a core group of seven member organizations which fled to the border after the then-military regime brutally suppressed the 1988 popular uprising.

DPNS Chairman Aung Moe Zaw told Mizzima, “They informed us that Aung Min would meet with us, but the date for the talks will be set later. Meeting with him is good, but we must call a central committee meeting within days for deliberations on the details of this talk.”

The DPNS was formed during the 1988 popular uprising. It had about 100,000 party members at the time of the 1990 general election. It was abolished in January 1991 by the then military regime and various party leaders fled to the border.

Though President Thein Sein and his cabinet colleagues invited Burmese nationals in exile to come back home, precise and specific laws and regulations are still needed for people who left Burma because of their political objectives and beliefs, said Min Ko Naing, 88 Generation leader who was released on 13th Janaury.

“They just called us to come back, but there should be practical and specific opinions and steps taken for this purpose,” said Aung Moe Zaw said.

Recently, the government reached cease-fire agreements with five ethnic armed groups (the KNU, SSA-S, CNF, UWSA and Mongla group). This is the first time the government has extended an offer of political talks to democratic forces outside Burma.