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Burmese Military Leader Makes Rare Public Appearance in Naypyidaw


Burma held its annual Armed Forces Day in the country's new capital, Nay Pyi Taw, or Royal City, on Tuesday.

The country's 74 year old military leader, Senior General Than Shwe was present, and made an address to the 10,000 soldiers on the parade ground.

The government moved the government to Nay Pyi Taw 240 miles north of Rangoon, the former capital in 2005.

Burma has been under military rule since 1962. Its military government have hit out at critics who have accused it of rights abuses and said it is making progress toward democracy.

The current junta, which took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations, held a general election in 1990.

But it refused to recognise the results after a landslide victory by the National League for Democracy party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Many Myanmar watchers believe that this will be the ailing Than Shwe's final Armed Forces Day before he steps down to make way for a successor and speculation is rife as to who will replace him.

According to one analyst, Larry Jagan, the faces may change but the policies will not; the iron grip of the military will remain.

"There are obviously differences of opinion about how to govern the country, how fast to push the national reconciliation process but these are minor differences," Jagan said.

"On the whole any changes that take place in terms of personnel is not going to change fundamentally the nature of the Burmese military rule," he added.

Former political prisoner Zin Linn agrees. The ordinary people of Myanmar will see no improvement from a change at the top, if there is no negotiation with the opposition, led by former Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, Zin Linn said.

Information for this report is provided by APTN.








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