Speaker: Dr Thuang Htun, representative for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
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CORBEN: The new strategy being prepared by Burma's government in exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or NCGUB, is to be presented at a conference in late June in Jakarta aimed at setting the stage for a new platform for political transition in Burma. The strategy is aimed at offering an alternative to the military government's planned general elections due for next year, which many analysts view as part of a plan by the army to extend its influence over the country after more than 40 years of rule.
Dr Thuang Htun, a representative for the NCGUB, says the recent arrest and trial of opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has accelerated efforts to press the military government on genuine and broad political reform. He says the opposition has welcomed the international support for Aung San Suu Kyi.
THUANG HTUN: A lot of concern expressed by the governments and the United Nations Secretary General's good offices. But these concerns have to be translated into action, you know. After the verdict has been made, there should be a very strong response in the form of a resolution.
That's one thing, the other thing is that the U.S. European Union and other international players should strengthen their diplomatic engagement with the players in the region including China and should bring them on board.
CORBEN: Is there some indication that the move by the military government to place Aung San Suu Kyi on trial has perhaps back fired?
THUANG HTUN: Of course we have seen the highest public anger in the country. Of course there is still fear and Rangoon looks like a sort of military city. You can see the riot police, military personnel, and military trucks everywhere guarding the city. So it's like a war zone. So that expresses how the regime so fearful about the possibility of public unrest and then we cannot rule out civil unrest if the military goes ahead with their planned verdict against Daw Suu Kyi. So it's a very volatile situation.
So that's why the government in exile in consultation with all the pro-democracy and ethnic groups, we are in the stage of consultation to present an action plan for democratic transition in Burma. How all the stakeholders can work together. How a sort of compromise solution can be found out. How we can start out an all inclusive credible political process.
CORBEN: From the government in exile's viewpoint what's the assessment of the reaction by the ASEAN countries to the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi?
THUANG HTUN: Yes, we are pleased with the statement issued by Thailand in its capacity as the chair of . ASEAN. It already gave a strong warning that action against Aung San Suu Kyi will make the credibility of the regime at stake. But it should be more than that because Aung San Suu Kyi is the key partner for dialogue, the key person for the reconciliation.
The regional players in the international community should say in one voice that the international community cannot recognise that the 2010 election planned by the regime if it is not inclusive - if it excludes Aung San Suu Kyi and other key ethnic leaders and the other key stakeholders. So that stand has to be made clear.