Military Commanders, USDA to hold Separate Meetings at Remote Capital
9 November 2009: Top military commanders from different regional commands are set to meet at the new Burmese capital on November 23rd, a source close to Naypyidaw has said.
The quarterly meeting of top commanders, which also include high-ranking military officials from key ministries, would probably be the last before Burma announced new election laws.
Likely issues expected to dominate the summit include the planned elections for 2010, as well as, strategies for dealing with ethnic armed groups ahead of the elections. The Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe kicks off a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka this week, but will return to the remote capital to preside over the summit.
Some speculate that one of the chief reasons for Than Shwe’s visit to Sri Lanka may be linked to his fascination with the recent successful military victory over the Tamil Tigers rebels by the south Asian island nation.
Burma has recently stepped up political pressures and military offensives against ethnic armed groups in its eastern borders, furthering speculations that the junta may be trying to neutralize all ethnic armed groups to ensure the elections went smoothly as planned.
Meanwhile, the junta’s civilian proxy Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), the likely successor of the military regime after the elections in 2010, is holding its annual general conference on the same day at Naypyidaw. It is expected that the USDA will officially transform itself into a political party during its conference.
The UN human rights envoy Quintana is also likely to arrive in Burma on the same day as the two meetings in Naypyidaw. The Argentine lawyer, who has made two previous trips to the country, had recently made a scathing report to the UN General Assembly on Burma’s human rights practice describing the “alarming patterns of widespread and systematic rights violations.”