Min Aung Hlaing’s Comments Raise Concerns Among Ethnic Leaders

Min Aung Hlaing’s Comments Raise Concerns Among Ethnic Leaders

Karen State, Karen National Union, Myanmar, Burma, National Ceasefire Coordination Team, Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief, Laiza, Sai Hla, Restoration Council of Shan State, Law Khee Lah

Soldiers from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) stand guard for security purposes at the conference in Law Khee Lar, Karen State. (Photo: Saw Yan Naing / The Irrawaddy)

LAW KHEE LAR, Karen State — Ethnic leaders and observers at an ongoing conference of ethnic armed groups in southeastern Burma say their confidence in the peace-making process has been shaken by recent reports that the commander-in-chief of the government army declared his troops had only ever acted defensively against the rebels.

Building trust with the government is a major concern moving forward, they say, after Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing reportedly defended his army’s operations in Kachin State and cast blame for violence on ethnic rebels, while also saying his troops were “afraid of no one.”

“There is very little trust between them,” Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, director of the Rangoon-based Karen Women’s Action Group (KWAG), a civil society group, told The Irrawaddy, referring to the government and ethnic rebel groups. She is attending the conference as an observer, and said ethnic rebel leaders including members of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) were “very concerned about the comments made recently by the commander-in-chief.”

According to local media reports, Min Aung Hlaing made the comments in a November speech while addressing a group of officers in Naypyidaw who had completed a training course. Local newspaper True News broke the story earlier this month, saying it had obtained a transcript of the speech. The newspaper’s story was later shared on the official Facebook page of the Burmese-language state run Mirror newspaper.

A conference of most of Burma’s ethnic armed groups began on Monday in Karen National Union (KNU)-controlled territory near the Burma-Thai border, with an ethnic Karen leader affirming his support for ongoing talks with the government toward a nationwide ceasefire agreement. The conference at the KNU’s Law Khee Lah base is taking place ahead of more talks with government negotiators in the Karen State capital of Pa-an next month,

Observers on Wednesday said poor trust with the government was not the only obstacle on the path to peace. Than Khe, head of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), said disagreements within and between ethnic armed groups were also slowing negotiations.

“Overall, they agree that political problems must be solved through political means. But I think there is major concern that they will not be able to commit to what the government has asked of them, based on their histories and backgrounds,” he told The Irrawaddy.

One debate concerns terminology. Some ethnic leaders want to refer to themselves as ethnic “revolution” armed groups in any future nationwide ceasefire agreement, to indicate that they have been fighting for a political purpose, but the government rejects this term.

Col. Sai Hla, a spokesman for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), said that despite some disagreements, his group would follow the desires of the majority.

The RCSS did not initially sign up to terms agreed by other ethnic armed groups at an earlier conference in Laiza, Kachin State, at the beginning of November.

“The idea that has been raised in the meeting—to hold negotiations on a nationwide ceasefire agreement, followed by the framework of political dialogue—is close to our policy. So even though we did not sign the agreement with the NCCT [in Laiza], we will sign it at any time when the government agrees to it.”


11 Responses to Min Aung Hlaing’s Comments Raise Concerns Among Ethnic Leaders

  1. “Normally” president is the comander in chief of the Tamadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces). President should be able to kick out this Min Aung Hlaing. “BUT” Army is acting above the law and Hluttaw as it is not a real democratic country yet.

  2. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing his addressing to Military officers has raise concerning for all foreign investors in Burma, peoples of Burma and on going peace agreement with ethnic minorities’ armed group about Military in under his command and his ironic loyalty to former dictatorship Than Shwe.

    I don’t think Gen. Min Aung Hlaing will be unprepared and carelessly addressing to his officers about his commitment to Than Shwe and against ethnic minorities group. In fact, he was talking to his Military officers in very much straightforward.
    We are very much concerning about former dictator Than Shwe controlling Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and Gen. Min Aung Hlaing commitment to Than Shwe’s policy and loyal to him.

    The future of democratic reforms in Burma is insecure if Gen. MIn Aung Hlaing continues supporting and loyalty to dictator Than Shwe who wants country under control of Military regime. Current Gen. Min Aung Hlaing disclosures about where Military standing under his command to Military Officers is most likely warning shoot to U Thein Sein, U Shwe Mann and all opposition groups.

    Why he refuse to meet opposition leader Daw Su?
    Does he afraid of asking him promise not to interfere and stay neutral in country politic by Daw Su?

    Like old Burmese say, two lions can not live in same cave. I believe that’s why sometime Gen. Min Aung Hlaing comes out and reminds President U Thein Sein and U Shwe Mann about who is a Master and who was Slave.
    Obviously, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing position is above the elected President U Thein Sein. That’s what we knew now but we don’t know what our country future will be.
    The question and answer for General Election in 2015 is;

    Q. Will Military under Gen. Min Aung Hlaing accepts and honor election result in 2015?

    A. ———?

  3. I surely want to see him turn his words into action by marching into the Wa’s territory. Let’s see who will blink first. My money is on the Burman.

  4. Stupid is what stupid does. Min Aung Hlaing is just a dumb and stupid soldier.

  5. Min Aung Hlaing is a Soldier.

    We have to accept his comments at some points.

    • Do you mean that every Burmese soldier is stupid?

    • We accept some of Min Aung Hlaing comment. But this one “army afraid of no one” is very harsh to ethnic rebels . We don’t say anything about how good we are to fight against the tatmadaw, we only defense ourselves. But the officer is mad about his rank and authority which he boast himself as not afraid of anyone. I want to ask him that all his soldiers can accept this comment? Who knows?

  6. General Min Aung Hlaing does not need the approval of the President; the Commander of the Army is Thein Sein’s boss.

  7. A cobra is a cobra in nature. You can’t trust him. It can change its colour in many different ways according to the situation. Now ethnic groups can vividly see it, the military army chief mad about the word of proud and boast himself of his army. He thought his rank and power will be with him till the end of his life. I’m afraid that this word might influence the next generation army leaders. The ethnic leaders must be careful when dealing with kind of cobra.

  8. min ang hlaing is a soldier – the soldier of the worst human rights violating uniformed goons in the world. What he has been taught shows how arrogant and pig-headed he is. By doing march past everyday – left, right, left … or bay, nya, bay … he has started thinking with his knees rather than his brain. His brain has already been screwed up and mixed with filth that the world has thrown away down the sewarage drain. His words show that even the tatmadaw will not think twice to overturn the democracy roadmap that his predecessors have flaunted. min aung hlaing with his ill-begotten comments has once again proved that he is not even fit to be a footsoldier, not a general. min aung hlaing talked like the most arrogant brute, and that shows how he has been raised and under which circumstances and his family root. Myanmar should be ashamed of such an uncivilized half-human.

  9. George Than Setkyar Heine

    Min Aung Hlaing’s MESSAGE to his OFFICERS is CLEARLY and in EVIDENCE of the FACT: BURMA WOULD REMAIN UNDER THE HEEL of the BURMA ARMY for quite a while if not a century more, any bets?
    TRUST!
    PUTTING YOUR BET on Min Aung Hlaing IS WORST THAN THROWING AWAY YOUR MONEY/LIFE INTO THE WATER no less trust me.
    He is NO BETTER THAN A ROBOT of Than Shwe’s today, PROGRAMMED TO CARRY OUT HIS MASTER’S ORDERS ONLY folks.
    WOULD YOU APPROACH much less TOUCH A VICIOUS BULL DOG WHEN IT IS SHOWING TEETH and GROWLING man?
    The last thing in this life and the worst you do in all eternity as well is TRUSTING the LIKES of Min Aung Hlaing and his PACK running Burma from Naypyidaw today, don’t argue man!
    U Nu TRUSTED Ne Win and PUT HIM in his POCKET way back around half a century ago. Right?
    And BURMA today is in this SORRY STATE of AFFAIRS – under the boot of the military and their cronies running amok in the country backed by the Chinese communists in Beijing for the worst as well – don’t deny the fact man!
    Of course WHO WOULDN’T SHUDDER WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS in the NIGHT as well?
    And specifically, the lightly armed ethnic ‘revolutionary’ armies – Karen, Mon, Palaung and others – excepting the Kachin and China backed United Wa State Army of course are having to look over their shoulders of course today man.
    Seeking for ceasefire signatures on the part of Min Aung Hlaing’s outfit (Burma Army) has its SELF-SERVING HIDDEN AGENDA as well, any bets?
    Thein Sein is POISED to SIT in the CHAIR of the ASEAN very soon, remember?
    And the Naypyidaw OUTFIT NEEDS to SHOW a SEMBLANCE of CIVILITY if not COURTESY in the midst of the rag-tag GROUPING (ASEAN) not to mention DUPE the MEMBERS of the ASEAN and the US led WEST mainly to DUMP their INVESTMENTS/ASSETS in BURMA in order to FATTEN the COFFERS of the CRONIES while the lot at Naypyidaw HOLDS the REINS of the COUNTRY.
    CASH LADEN/LOADED LEPERS (CRONIES) and POWER HUNGRY MEN in UNIFORM – holding guns – and in CIVILIAN ATTIRES – holding the reins of power – are a SURE FIRE RECIPE for ETERNAL MILITARY BACKED PSEUDO-CIVILIAN RULE in BURMA, don’t argue man.
    DICTATORS NEVER GIVE UP/SURRENDER THEIR ILL-GOTTEN POWER and PROPERTY VOLUNTARILY lest you guys forget as well.
    Hence, PEOPLE POWER is the ONLY ANSWER/REMEDY for THAT MATTER – PUT the DICTATORS in THEIR PLACES – in prisons or graves – unless of course, THEY REPENT/APOLOGIZE and RETURN to the BARRACKS for the soldiers and BURROWS/CAVES for the CRONIES where they belong.
    The CHOICE IS THEIRS of course man!

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