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753Northeast part of Burma declares independence

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  • Greg Cannon
    Apr 29, 2005

      Shan government seeks recognition from UN, Thailand

      Friday, Apr 29, 2005,Page 1

      The self-declared Shan government, which earlier this
      month claimed independence from Myanmar, is seeking
      recognition from the UN and several countries
      including Thailand, leaders of the rebel government
      said on Thursday.

      "We are in the process of seeking recognition from a
      number of countries including the United Nations,"
      said Hkun Hom, the self-proclaimed foreign minister of
      the Shan government.

      On April 17, Shan Prince Surkhanpha, the son of
      Myanmar's first post-independence president Saopalong
      Sa Shwe Thaike, declared the Shan State of
      northeastern Myanmar independent and the establishment
      of a Shan government with himself as president.

      The self-proclaimed government has called on the UN to
      send in a peacekeeping force to the Shan State to help
      remove Myanmar troops from their territory to pave the
      way for a free election.

      "We have foreign troops in our country and have to see
      that they withdraw back to Burma before we can hold an
      election to elect a new government," said Hkun Hom,
      addressing an informal gathering of journalists in

      Hkun Hom said the Shan government has also sought
      support and recognition from Thai King Bhumibol
      Adulyadej, head of state of Thailand.

      "We have no quarrel with the Thai government. In fact,
      we share the same heritage, history and culture so we
      would welcome full cooperation with the Thais,"
      Surkhanpha said.

      Surkhanpha, a geologist by profession who has been
      living in exile in Canada since 1966, claimed he had
      earned his mandate from the Shan people by secretly
      canvassing their support over the past two years.

      "Our government's mandate comes from 48 townships out
      of 56 in the Shan State who voted for independence,"
      he said.

      He claimed firm support from the 8 million people
      residing in the Shan State, including the Shan State
      Army and other rebel groups who have been waging
      insurgencies in the area for the past five decades.

      Surkhanpha said Myanmar, which has been under military
      rule since 1962, had lost its constitutional right to
      preserve the country as a union because of the
      Yangon-based military regime's mistreatment of ethnic
      minorities, including the Shan.

      "The 1948 Union of Burma does not exist. The Burmese
      generals have converted it into a Burmese empire,"
      said Surkhanpha, who refused to call the country by
      its official name, Myanmar.