Saturday, September 29, 2007

Surayud vs. Sonthi on Burma

General Sonthi via New Mandala on the Burmese situation:

Regarding the dispersal of demonstrations, the Burmese government did not use military force. Police was deployed. That was the right approach. It has been used by every country—that the military must step back to let police take charge. But the actual tactics may vary from country to country. However, I think there is no violence in the current situation. Everything is under control. The Burmese government is still in control of the situation. On the reports that Buddhist monks were assaulted [during the dispersal of demonstrations], that cannot be concluded just from looking at the photos. As it happened in Thailand, sometimes people used violence against officials. So officials may have to defend themselves. There has been no political suppression. Burmese authorities should understand that it—getting Buddhist monks involved in the demonstrations—is a tactic used by demonstrators. So Burmese authorities understand that they cannot use violence against Buddhist monks. They must use soft approach. I was informed that Burma uses dialogue to solve the problem, and senior Buddhist monks have helped negotiate to end the problem. I do not think Burma will care [about international pressure], because it does not really depend on anyone. Burma has been taking care of itself all along. It does not accept interference from outside. Moreover, there are many countries that have discretely helped protect Burma—such as China and Korea. That is because Burma has plenty natural resources that many major powers want to have their hand on. We are neighbor [of Burma]. If we get involved, that will undermine our relationship.

Bangkok Post's Editorial on General Sonthi's analysis of the Burmese situation:

Gen Sonthi is in grave error

Recent comments by Council for National Security chairman Sonthi Boonyaratkalin condoning the violent suppression of largely peaceful demonstrations across Burma are despicable, and the outgoing army chief should be held accountable for his seriously irresponsible remarks.


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