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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BANGKOK1991 2007-04-05 06:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

BURMESE EXILE COMMUNITY AGREES ON UNITY IN

Tags:   PREL PHUM UNSC BM TH 
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VZCZCXRO5473
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #1991/01 0950631
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 050631Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6069
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5164
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001991 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/05/2017
TAGS: PREL PHUM UNSC BM TH
SUBJECT: BURMESE EXILE COMMUNITY AGREES ON UNITY IN
GOVERNANCE NOT/NOT A UNITY GOVERNMENT

Classified By: Political Officer J.R. Littlejohn, reasons 1(b) and (d)

SUMMARY
-------


1. (C) A group of 60 Burmese exile community leaders
recently attended a Strategy Coordinating Committee (SCC)
meeting in the border area to hash out a consolidated
approach toward supporting the pro-democracy movement in
Burma. Informally shooting down an idea to form a unity
government, some members have turned their attention to
retrofitting the various constitutions drafted by the ethnic
groups into a federal constitution. The hope is that this
document will eventually counter the Constitution prepared by
the government of Burma.

OVERVIEW OF THE STRATEGY COORDINATING COMMITTEE MEETING


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) In the latter part of February, 60 representatives
from various exile organizations huddled together in a safe
house teetering on the border between Thailand and Burma.
The attendees represented a hodgepodge of exile groups such
as the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), the National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the
National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), the Women's
League of Burma and various youth groups. Those in
attendance were divided into working groups, each handling
one of four issues: the Common Roadmap, mass mobilization,
international affairs, and arms struggle.



3. (C) We were told by a member of the NCGUB that this was
the sixth such gathering, but that the meetings were put on
indefinite hold in 2003 because of rifts with the ENC. Our
source suggested that in early 2003 the ENC members were
considered rising stars in exile politics and were
propagating their own plans, such as forming a Roadmap
without consulting the NCGUB. He said they were also
reluctant to participate because of fear the meetings would
lead to consolidation of exile groups into one unified
organization and loss of control of funding and programming
as a consequence of such unity. For this reason, this latest
meeting is considered a breakthrough in exile relations after
three years of silence.

DECLARING A GOVERNMENT IN EXILE(AGAIN?


--------------------------





4. (C) In the lead up to the February SCC meeting, our
contacts billed the event as the occasion out of which a
coordinated strategy would emerge. Our contacts predicted,
however, that an idea to form a unity government comprised of
new leadership (that would extend to woman and ethnic groups)
threatened to divide the fledging unity that existed under
the current composition.



5. (C) The earliest opponents of this idea were Naing Aung
of NCUB and Forum for Democracy Burma (FDB), and Zaw Zaw Htun
of NCUB and FDB. In January and early February, both men
shared with us their concerns about a group of NCUB members
led by Maung Maung (NCUB/FTUB), which was floating a proposal
to undermine the Burmese government's National Convention
process by forming an exile government. Our contacts feared
Maung Maung's plan could diminish the legitimacy of the NLD
and 88 Generation Student (GS) groups. Both men stated that
the NLD and 88GS had not been consulted about this idea to
essentially merge the NCGUB with the NCUB. Others contacted
us to express anxiety, and added that they did not believe
their Thai hosts would support a new government in exile
based in Thailand, for fear of inviting political pressure
from the Burmese regime.



6. (C) On March 12, David Taw, a member of the leadership
in the ENC and NCUB said that the ENC did not intend to be a
party to a new government in exile. He said that he was
against such an idea since the exile community already has
the NCGUB. He also noted that this issue never made it to the
floor of the SCC meeting because of its growing unpopularity.
He said the chief complaint was based on the lack of
legitimacy of any new governing body. Since the former
government was elected, people would wonder from whence the
new government derives its mandate.



7. (C) We met on March 13 with Maung Maung (NCUB-FTUB) to
hear his view on the idea of a coalition government in exile.
He suggested this proposal had been blown out of proportion
by others in the exile community. He said the most important
outcome from the SCC meeting was agreement for NCUB, NCGUB
and ENC to coordinate more closely. In fact, he was much
more interested in discussing the Common Roadmap being

BANGKOK 00001991 002 OF 002


drafted by the exile community, and a new Federal
Constitution which would essentially link individual ethnic
states' constitutions together with a new centralized federal
structure.



8. (C) On March 29, Debbie Stothard -- a well-connected
non-Burmese expatriate activist -- told us that the coalition
or unity government idea was not going to be adopted, and
certain members of the NCGUB and NCUB floating it would get
into a lot of trouble if more people heard about it. She
echoed concerns expressed to her about legitimacy of such a
newly formed government. On the latest flurry of rhetoric
about a new constitution drafting process, she noted that it
was a good exercise for all groups to understand the drafting
process, but she predicted it would remain just an exercise
not an actionable item.



9. (C) Comment: This much-hyped SCC meeting may have
established a basis for exile groups to engage in dialogue
more uniformly. But no concrete conclusions were reached,
and judging from conversations with other participants and
Burma-watchers, the Constitution and Roadmaps are likely to
get lost in the shuffle as exiles seek out the next idea that
could garner international support (read: funding).
ARVIZU