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BurmaNet News April 21, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet-- Congressman Christopher Smith on the plight of t ------------------------  
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"  
The BurmaNet News: April 21, 1997  
Issue #699

Noted in passing:

 Has our failure to impose the Cohen-FeinsteinCTIONS ON BURMA) sanctions...madeHEADLINES:   it more 
difficult for us to argue that Thailand and other Asean nations should 
isolate the SLORC and provide continued assistance to its 

April 20, 19997
Agence France-Press

BANGKOK: Burmese government forces have attacked a dissident
student base close to the Thai border triggering a new exodus of refugees 
into southern Thailand, sources said yesterday.
	Some 1,000 troops of Burma's State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc) are conducting an offensive against the student's 8888 
Camp and nearby ethnic settlements, opposite Thailand's Prachuab Khiri 
Khan province, according to the All Burma Students's Democratic Front 
	Col Somdej Seumak of Thailand's Ninth Infantry Division confirmed 
there had been fighting across the border on Friday and that 138
refugees had crossed into Thap Sakae district of Prachuab Khiri Khan that 
138 refugees had crossed into Thap Kakae district of Prachuab Khiri Khan 
that afternoon.
	An ABSDF spokesman reported that a further 500 ethnic Mon
refugees had fled to the border, but were yet to cross into  Thailand. 
More refugees were expected from settlements of Karen, Mon and Moslem 
communities close to the student camp.
	An estimated 20,000 refugees have already escaped to Thailand
since February during a massive sweep by Burmese junta troops along 
Burma's western border, to flush out resistance from rebel Karens.
	Small groups of dissident s including the ABSDF have supported
the Karens' resistance to the Slorc.
	The ABSDF spokesman said 8888 Camp, which is located about two km 
inside Burma, had been under attack for over a week and was
shelled on Friday, There had been no further fighting yesterday.


April 19, 1997

KANCHANABURI: BURMESE military leader Gen Than Shwe is planning to step 
down after clearing up internal military conflicts, Prime
Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday.
	Speaking about the rumors of an internal power struggle within
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Chavalit said the 
Slorc chairman "wants to step down."
	The premier did not clarify exactly when and how Than Shwe will
give up his posts, only saying Than Shwe will step down after he has 
cleared up internal problems within the armed forces.
	Than Shwe, 64 came into power after the Burmese military brutally 
suppressed demonstrations by pro-democracy students in 1988. He
replaced long time military strongman, Ne Win, when the Slorc was formed. 
Besides holding the chairmanship of the military junta, Than Shwe also 
holds the posts of prime minister, defense minister and minister of industry.
	Rumors about his retirement began circulating last fall after he
was reported to have suffered a stroke. Since then, he has carried out 
largely ceremonial duties, greeting foreign dignitaries and visiting 
neighboring countries.
	Chavalit's remarks about Than Shwe's plans came shortly after a
mysterious bombing at the home of senior Slorc official Gen Tin Oo, which 
killed his 34 year old daughter. One of the causes is believed to be 
internal conflicts caused by a power struggle within the Slorc leadership.
	A senior Thai military officer, speaking on condition of 
anonymity, said that the Slorc officers have split into two factions. One 
is led by Lt Gen Khin Nyunt and the other is led by Slorc vice chairman 
and army chief commander, Gen Maung Aye. Than Shwe is seen as the buffer 
between the two factions.
	The two groups are jockeying for power behind the scenes, he 
said. The Maung Aye faction  has wanted to topple Than Shwe, who is still 
respected by most military officers, said the source. 
	One theory holds that when Than Shwe steps down, Maung Aye will 
succeed him as Slorc chairman as well as commander in chief of
the Tatmadaw defense forces.
	Gen Maung Aye is known as a hawk who believes  the Slorc can
solve their myriad domestic problems with military force. He also opposed 
the conciliatory tone Khin Nyunt and Than Shwe initially took with Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi after her release from house arrest in 1996.
	Khin Nyunt, meanwhile, heads Slorc military intelligence and is
rumored to be close to Ne Win, who some say still has considerable 
influence with in the junta.
	Chavalit is known to have maintained his close ties with the
Burmese military leaders since his retirement form Thai military service.
	Thailand's army commander in chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro also has 
a policy to be friendly with Burma. He has met with Gen Maung Aye
several times recently for various discussions related to border 
conflicts. He is scheduled to meet with Maung Aye again in Kawthaung 
later this month.
	Chavalit also said the Karen refugee problem will vanish once
Than Shwe steps down but offered no indication as to how that would be 
the case.


April 19, 1997

TAK: A Burmese Islamic activist yesterday said most Muslims in Burma 
refused to cut up goat and cow meat during the Islamic feast of 
Eid-ul-Adha in protest against systematic persecution from the State Law 
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc).
	The aim of the demonstration was to show disapproval of the SLORC 
by refusing to comply with the traditional religious rite of
distributing meat to the poor during the ceremony held each year.
	The activist, who wished to remain anonymous, said this action
was undertaken in order to persuade Muslims world-wide , particularly in 
Middle Eastern countries to boycott the Burmese junta.
	Referring to the burning of Islam's holiest book the "Koran" last
month, he said most Muslims believed it was the work of the SLORC and not 
Buddhist monks in an attempt to create religious tension between Muslims 
and Buddhists.
	Last month, Buddhist monks protesting in Mandalay were reported 
to have ransacked mosques and burned copies of the Koran in
retaliation to an alleged rape of a Young Buddhist woman by two
Muslim men.

April 17, 1997
by Ken Silverstein

In recent months, three congressional delegations have embarked on 
missions to Burma, a country whose citizens suffer widespread human 
rights abuses and "live in a climate of fear," according to a new United 
Nations report.  The nation's military dictatorship has abolished almost 
all opposition, kept Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi under 
virtual house arrest, and employed torture and murder to maintain itself 
in power.  Despite these atrocities, and despite increasing pressure from 
a bipartisan coalition of legislators and activists, President Clinton 
refused last week to impose economic sanctions on the regime.
The president's decision seems to have been influenced by a high-stakes 
lobbying effort being put forth on behalf of Burma's ruling generals -- 
effort that includes tow of the congressional excursions.  The first 
mission, headed by John Porter of Illinois, cochair of the Congressional 
Human Rights Caucus, was denied entry and forced to travel to Thailand 
instead.  The other delegations, however -- one of which included New 
York State's rising star, Bill Paxon -- were warmly greeted by the junta.
The regime's friendly welcome to the last two groups wasn't surprising. 
Their respective journeys were funded by the Asia-Pacific Exchange 
Foundation and the Burma/Myanmar Forum -- two D.C. outfits that receive 
funding from oil giant UNOCAL, the biggest U.S. investor in Burma.  
UNOCAL's financial support for those groups is part of a broad campaign 
by the company to improve relations between Washington and Rangoon, and 
head off any human rights-based action that could jeopardize its 
financial stake  there.  The oil giant has even hired New York's top 
lobbying firm, Davidoff & Malito, to help it quash local legislation that 
would punish companies doing business in Burma.
UNOCAL's efforts represent the latest stage in Burma's quest for 
international legitimacy.  As one of the most reviled regimes in the 
Burma is keenly aware of the need to polish its image in the U.S. -- its 
financial success is riding on it.  Last year, Congress passed a law 
requiring the Clinton administration to impose stiff sanctions against 
Burma if the junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
(SLORC) stepped up repression of the opposition.  Such criteria seems to 
have been easily surpassed, as evidenced by Amnesty International's 
report that 1996 was the worst year for human rights in Burma since 1988, 
when the military seized power and slaughtered 3000 people.  The 
administration apparently disagrees, as demonstrated by last week's 
decision not to act.
Burma's attempt to shed its rogue image first gained notice in 1991, when 
the country hired lobbyist Edward Van Kloberg.  Previously, Van Kloberg 
had  represented such beacons of democracy as Saddam Hussein, Nicolae 
Ceausescu, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, and Samuel Doe of Liberia.  Van 
Kloberg took to his task with relish, helping arrange meetings between 
Burma's ambassador, U Thaung, and 23 members of Congress.  However, the 
SLORC, apparently embarrassed by the negative media coverage that 
followed the deal, summarily dismissed Van Kloberg and stiffed him for 
$5000.  The lobbyist, who previously lavished praise on U Thaung, 
recently referred to him in print as a "little shit."
Following the Van Kloberg debacle, the SLORC apparently concluded that 
the task of lobbying would be best left to American firms with local 
investments.  But with many companies having pulled out -- including 
Disney and PepsiCo -- in response to pressure from U.S. solidarity 
groups, only a handful of American firms still have significant money on 
the line in Burma. UNOCAL has the most at state, in the form of its share 
in a $1.2 billion oil-pipeline joint venture with the French firm Total, 
the SLORC, and the government of Thailand.  Therefore, the sordid task of 
selling Burma to the U.S. government and public has landed on the oil 
company's shoulders.
UNOCAL insists that the best way to promote human rights in Burma is to 
have other U.S. firms join it there.  "Engagement and investment are the 
keys to starting a Third World country on the road to political reform," 
says a PR statement the firm helped draft.  "Isolation is exactly the 
wrong approach."
The company's strategy of speaking only in vague terms about the supposed 
benefits of "engagement" is a wise one, since it's hard to see how 
participation in a huge joint venture with a cabal of military thugs 
somehow enhance the cause of democracy.  UNOCAL would also like to avoid 
discussing the messy details of its involvement in Burma, such as the 
company's decision to provide the cash-strapped dictatorship with a $7 
million fertilizer credit.
To promote its ludicrous arguments, UNOCAL has recruited a number of 
heavy hitters, including Timmons and Co's Tom Korologos, a prominent GOP 
lobbyist who served as one of Bob Dole's top campaign advisers.   UNOCAL 
paid Korologos's firm -- which lobbied for the oil company on a broad 
range of issues including Burma -- $280,000 for its efforts in 1996.  
During congressional debate last summer, Korologos put heavy pressure on 
Republicans who were considering voting for a bill that would have 
immediately slapped sanctions on Rangoon.  The bill was narrowly 
defeated, clearing the way for passage of the loophole-ridden measure 
that Clinton clings to as a justification for inaction.
UNOCAL has also been working at the state and local levels, especially in 
opposing so-called selective- purchasing laws.  These statues, which have 
passed in a dozen cities and the state of Massachusetts, ban or deter 
companies that do business in Burma from receiving government contracts.
Davidoff & Malito -- headed by Sid Davidoff, the close friend and advisor 
to former mayor David Dinkins, and Robert Malito, one of Senator Alfonse 
D'Amato's closest cronies -- was recently retained by UNOCAL to oppose a 
selective-purchasing bill now before the New York City Council.  At a 
March 4 council hearing, Davidoff & Malito's Arthur Goldstein claimed 
that while there "are consistent reports" of human rights problems in 
Burma, "no such violations have taken place" in connection with the 
UNOCAL project -- a statement that ignores that SLORC forced peasants to 
labor on the pipeline and forcibly relocated villages lying in its path.  
"Before UNOCAL hired Davidoff & Malito we had an excellent chance of 
winning," says Nina Reznick, a lawyer who has led New York's selective 
purchasing drive.  "I'm still optimistic, but it's going to take a hell 
of a lot more work."
UNOCAL has also sought to influence public opinion, selecting the 
Washington PR firm Edelman Worldwide to drum up positive press.  Edelman 
associate Katie Connorton has taken on the task of soliciting articles 
from university professors.  In a January 31 letter to one academic, 
Connoton explained how UNOCAL's pipeline project "is helping ... (bring) 
high paying jobs, economic development, and socioeconomic assistance" to 
Burma -- perfect fodder, she suggested for a piece about the oil 
company's heartwarming deeds in that country.
Among UNOCAL's most effective allies are the beltway outfits behind the 
congressional junkets to Burma.  The Asia-Pacific Exchange Foundation, 
headed  a right-wing army reserve general, Richard Quick, has also 
sponsored delegations to China and Singapore.  Last December, the 
foundation aid for four congressional Republicans --Paxon of New York, 
House majority whip Tom De Lay of Texas, Dennis Hastert of Illinois, and 
Deborah Pryce of Ohio -- to travel to Burma.  The quartet met with 
various military leaders and stayed in the tyrannized nation, ironically 
enough, on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
The U.S. representatives did not meet with opposition leaders during 
visit but did find time to fly -- on a military plane -- to Pagan, a 
town where a few years ago villagers were forcibly removed to keep them 
away from tourists and foreign reporters.  The congress members also 
visited the pipeline facilities, this being of particular interest to 
DeLay and Hastert, as UNOCAL contributes to their political campaigns.
The Burma/Myanmar Forum is run by Frances Zwenig, a former staffer to 
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and describes itself as "a key 
of information for those interested in the developing relationship 
the United States and Burma/Myanmar."  The Forum has sponsored several 
trips to Burma, most recently in February, when it covered the costs for 
five carefully selected Hill staffers.  These included Deanna Okun from 
the office of Senator Frank Murkowski, perhaps the most rapidly pro-oil 
member of Congress, and Dan Bob from the office of Senator William Roth, 
head of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees sanctions.  
"Zwenig's good. She knows the Hill and how to work it," says a beltway 
Burma watcher who asked not to be identified.  "She must have money 
behind her because arranging these trips is not cheap."
Neither Quick nor Zwenig will reveal their organization's financial 
backers. However, a UNOCAL spokesman acknowledged that the company 
subsidizes both operations.  He would not say in what amount.  "These are 
independent organizations which pursue their mandates in an objective 
manner," said the spokesman.  "We have every right to support them.  Asia 
is a major market for us."
Activists from U.S. solidarity groups have a different perspective.  
groups claim to be independent and give UNOCAL plausible deniability," 
said Doug Steele, an editor of the online service Burma-Net.  "Some 
members of Congress who go on these trips may not even realize that they 
are being lobbied."
Despite its lavish spending and powerful allies, UNOCAL may not be able 
to fend off tougher measures against its friends in the SLORC for much 
longer. There is a strong movement in Congress to pass a tougher 
sanctions bill on Burma this year and even Clinton may reverse fields and 
back the provisions. "He's up to his eyeballs with Asia problems," says 
the Burma watcher, referring to the "donorgate" scandal.  "The president 
may go along (with a new sanctions bill), if only to avoid drawing any 
more attention to the region.

April 18, 1997

KANCHANABURI - The Army has given about 2,400 newly arrived
refugees at Tho Kah camp in Thong Pha Phum district one week in
which to either move to a new site further south in the province
or return to Burma.
	An informed source said it was not clear why the 9th Division
commander in Kanchanaburi, Maj Gen Thaweep Suwan nasingh, wanted
the refugees to move to Phu Muang camp, which is facing problems
of overcrowding.
	During a visit to Tho Kah on Wednesday, Thaweep told refugees who 
crossed into Thailand when the Burmese army mounted a heavy
offensive in the area over the weekend that they had three options to 
choose from within a week.
	They could either go to Phu Muang camp in Muang district, join
the Mon shelter at Halokkhani camp just across the border from Thailand's 
Sangkha Buri district or go back to Burma on their own.
	About 1,200 Karen refugees 700 of whom arrived after their 
guerrillas' 6th Brigade headquarters fell to the Burmese army in February 
are already taking refuge in Halokkhani, which is primarily a Mon camp.
	The source said that the refugees one third of whom are Tavoyans
while the rest are Karen did not want to go to Phu Muang, as the place is 
far from their homes, which are in an area intended for the controversial 
Yadana gas pipeline project.
	They also do not want to return to Burma now as it is unsafe for
them, he added. Tho Kha is about two kilometres deeper into Thailand.
	The multi billion dollar Yadana pipeline project, which will tap
natural gas form Burma's Gulf of Martaban and transport it through the 
seabed and overland to Thailand, has come under heavy international 
criticism for its effect on the local Burmese population.
	There are widespread reports of human rights abuses, forced
eviction and forced labour as a result of the project, which is run by a 
consortium of four partners: France's oil company Total, American petro 
giant Unocal, Thailand's Petroleum Authority of Thailand and the Burmese 
junta's MYANMAR Oil and Gas Enterprise. 
	During the weekend attacks and shelling of Karen National Union
(KNU) guerrillas near Tho Kah, about 20 heavy Burmese shells fell on Thai 
	Other sources said that although the 9th Division had allowed
Karen refugees to flee fighting into Thailand after recent media reports 
accused the division of forcing repatriations, it had imposed 
restrictions on access by outsiders to camps in Kanchanaburi. Camps in 
Ratchaburi remain accessible to those with permission.


April 18, 1997

The United States this week sent its strongest signal yet to Burma9s 
military government that Rangoon could face new economic sanctions in the 
absence of progress toward human rights and democratic reform.

The strongest remarks on Burma so far this year by any Clinton 
administration official came from secretary of state Madeleine Albright. 
In a foreign policy speech, she said Burma9s ruling  military government 
is on notice that unless *the clouds of repression are lifted,* burma 
will face investment sanctions under u-s law.

Secretary Albright9s remarks came amid continuing speculation about how 
soon -- if at all -- President Clinton will implement a 1996 law 
requiring an end to new investment in Burma by US companies.

Earlier this month, a US newspaper (Washington Times) reported that Mr. 
Clinton was leaning away from any early action.  The newspaper quoted un 
named US officials as saying US policy would be to gradually increase 
pressure on Rangoon.

Soon after that report, the state department said sanctions remain an 
option -- although  no  deadlines are being set.
But the day after secretary Albright9s remarks, the sanctions question 
came up again.  This was state department spokesman Nicholas Burns9 reply 
to a reporter who suggested that, when it comes to human rights, the 
United States was applying different standards to different countries:

/// Burns act ///
Well, you know, there isn9t, as far as i9m aware, any sanctions, 
legislation that senior members of congress have proposed for China.  
There is for Burma.  And we have, of course, universal principles that we 
adhere to across the board.  But you have to look at the tactics of 
trying to change a government9s behavior from country to country.  Now, a 
bunch of military dictators, like those in Rangoon, we think, might sit 
up and take notice if the largest and most important country in the 
world, the most powerful country in the world, presents  that threat to 
them.  And we hope this will moderate some of their behavior, which has 
been quite disappointing in recent months.
/// end act ///

Mr. Burns said although the president has not yet made a decision, 
Burma9s military should recognize that sanctions are now *a strong 
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the question of action or inaction in 
implementing the 1996 sanctions law and overall policy toward Burma 
received more  attention.

Here is what Republican Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey had 
to say during a hearing on the plight of tens of thousands of refugees 
who fled to Thailand to escape a burmese military offensive:

/// Smith act ///
Has our failure to impose the Cohen-Feinstein sanctions, which were 
passed into law last September and signed by the president, and which 
(among other things) specifically requires the president to prohibit US 
investment in Burma in the event of large-scale political repression by 
the SLORC (Burma9s State Law and Order Restoration Council), made it more 
difficult for us to argue that Thailand and other Asean (Association of 
Southeast Asian) nations should isolate the SLORC and provide continued 
assistance to its victims?
/// end act ///

//Opt// at the same hearing, Soe Pyne (pron: so-pine) of the exile 
National Coalition Government of Burma, said refugee problems along the 
border are the direct result of Burma9s continuing political  problems.  
He urged more US pressure on Rangoon:

/// Soe Pyne act ///
The United States and the international community must step up their 
efforts aimed at pressuring the  SLORC to enter into dialogue with the 
democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities.  That process will 
resolve the refugee problem and ensure peace and harmony in Burma and the 
/// end act - end opt ///

Meanwhile, a senator who supported an even tougher sanctions bill in 1996 
said again he feels conditions in Burma are such that Mr. Clinton must act.

Republican Mitch McConnell, along with democratic senator Patrick Leahy 
and others watching Burma, have vowed to draft new legislation calling 
for immediate action -- in the absence of an administration move to 
implement last year9s law.  (signed)


April 16, 1997
   The United States is using the threat of economic sanctions against  
Burma like a weapon aimed at destroying basic rights of the Burmese 
people, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
   "The U.S. economic sanctions is a policy which is being extensively used
today as a weapon of destruction against a nation or a population 
regarded as unfriendly," the spokesman said in a faxed response to 
questions by Reuters.
   He had been asked about remarks made on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of 
State Madeleine Albright, who criticised  Burma's  military government 
for failing to respond to appeals to improve human rights.
   "Burmese leaders are on notice that, unless the clouds of repression are
lifted, they will face investment sanctions under U.S. law," Albright 
said in a  speech to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
   U.S. President Bill Clinton can impose sanctions on  Burma  if 
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is rearrested or the situation in  
Burma  worsens. Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, was under house 
arrest for six years for her criticism of the Rangoon government.
   State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called Albright's remarks a
stiffening of the U.S. position.
   "It puts squarely before the Burmese dictators the proposition that 
without an improvement in the human rights situation, there is going to 
be action by the United States," he said on Tuesday.
   The Burmese spokesman told Reuters that his government was more 
concerned about the situation in  Burma  than was the United States or 
any other foreign nation. 
   "If the U.S. is so genuinely concerned about the human rights of the
 Myanmar  (Burmese) people, why is it so necessary to deprive one of the 
most essential rights of the  Myanmar  people -- the right to earn a 
living and support the family?" he asked.
   "Does U.S. human rights mean priority of one favoured person or a 
party is above everything else? And does the U.S. really believe that 
installing an
overnight Western democracy is the cure for all developing, unstable and
problem-ridden countries of the world," he asked.
   The U.S. and many other Western countries have criticised  Burma  for 
human rights abuses and for failing to recognise the democratically 
elected government of the National League for Democracy, which was 
co-founded by Suu Kyi.

April  16, 1997
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff

    The chief sponsor of the controversial Massachusetts law imposing 
sanctions  on military-ruled  Burma  said a meeting yesterday with 
Clinton administration trade officials did nothing to persuade him to 
water down the statute.
   Representative Byron Rushing, a Democrat from the South End, said the
three-person delegation from the US Trade Representative's office and 
State Department did not try to pressure him or the Legislature to back 
off the sanctions bill, which has created an international furor among 
American trading partners.
   Rushing said that the three - who also met with House Speaker Thomas 
M. Finneran, a top economic aide to Governor William F. Weld, and other 
lawmakers -outlined the administration's concerns that the law violated 
international trade agreements.
   "Nothing was said in these conversations that convinced me we should 
change our position or we should urge the Legislature to do anything 
different," he said.
   The law forbids the state from awarding contracts to companies doing 
business in  Burma,  whose nine-year-old military junta has been assailed 
for repressing democracy, and requires state pension funds to divest 
themselves of stock in companies that do business there.
   Weld yesterday said the European Union and Japan have raised a 
"straight legal question . . . a non-frivolous issue" of whether the US 
Constitution takes precedence over Massachusetts foreign policy measures.
   "I don't blame the EU or Japan for wanting to put it on the table," Weld
said, adding that he had spoken to US Trade Representative Charlene
Barshefsky and offered to help her office defend state law to the World 
Trade Organization.
   The EU and Japan, under pressure from multinational corporations, told 
the Clinton administration that if Massachusetts does not back off on 
its  Burma law within four weeks, they will begin a formal protest to the 
World Trade Organization. They contend the law discriminates against 
businesses from their countries.
   Also pending in Massachusetts is a bill imposing similar sanctions on
companies doing business in Indonesia, which is facing criticism for its
suppression of political opposition in East Timor.


April 20, 1997
Nussara Sawatsawang

Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh will visit Burma early next month, 
Froeign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasarn said yesterday.
	The issue was discussed during a meeting with his Burmese
counterpart Ohn Gyaw, whom Mr Prachuab was hoping to play golf
with in Bangkok today.
	Mr Prachuab said the premier wanted to visit Burma as part of his
desire to drop in on neighbouring countries following his recent tour of 
Asean nations and China.
	Mr Prachuab, who also invited Cambodian Foreign Minister Somsavat 
Lengsavad to tee-off with him, said Gen Chavalit was scheduled to visit 
both Laos and Cambodia in June.
	Permanent Secretary Saroj Chavanaviraj will go to Rangoon next
Thursday to prepare the premier's schedule and the topics for discussion 
with Burmese leader Gen Than Shwe.
	A Foreign Ministry official said that the bridge linking Mae Sot
in Tak and Myawaddy of Burma would be high on the agenda because
its construction was scheduled to be completed soon.
	Mr Prachuab's one-hour meeting with U Ohn Gyaw also touched on 
other bilateral issues, including the setting up of the Thai-Burmese 
Friendship Association, the annual meeting of the Joint Commission at 
foreign ministerial level, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of 
Thai-Burmese diplomatic relations next year.
	He said Thailand wanted to build a hospital in Burma to
commemorate the event.
	Burma's entry into Asean was not discussed but Mr Prachuab said
this would be raised by Asean foreign ministers on May 31 in Kuala 
Lumpur. Asean leaders agreed last year to admit Burma, Cambodia and Laos 
into the grouping at the same time, but did not set a timeframe.


[translated from Burmese]
March 29, 1997

At the invitation of Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC] of the Union of Myanmar [Burma] 
and prime minister, and his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing, Mr. Khamtai 
Siphandon, prime minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic [LPDR], 
his wife Madam Thongvan Siphandon, and a goodwill delegation arrived at 
Yangon [Rangoon] International Airport by a special aircraft at 0930 
today. They were welcomed at Yangon International Airport by SLORC 
Chairman Sr. Gen. Than Shwe and his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing; General Maung 
Aye, SLORC vice chairman, deputy commander in chief of the Defense 
Services, and army commander in chief, and his wife; SLORC Secretary-1 
Lieutenant General Khin
Nyunt and his wife; SLORC Secretary-2 Lt. Gen. Tin U and his wife; Vice
Admiral Maung Maung Khin, SLORC member and deputy prime minister, and his 
wife; Lt. Gen. Tin Tun, SLORC member and deputy prime minister, and his 
wife; ministers and their wives; Mr. Valeri V Nazarov, dean of the 
diplomatic corps and Russian ambassador, and his wife; and senior 
diplomats and their wives.  [passage omitted on procession to state guest 
Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC Chairman and prime minister, and his wife Daw
Kyaing Kyaing hosted a banquet in honor of Mr. Khamtai Siphandon, prime 
minister of LPDR, his wife Madam Thongvan Siphandon, and the Laotian 
goodwill delegation at the Reception Hall of the People's Assembly 
Building at 1900 today.
Khamtai Siphandon, the visiting Laotian prime minister, called on SLORC
Chairman Sr. Gen. Than Shwe at the Mingalar Hall of the People's Assembly 
Building at 1400 today.

SLORC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt and his wife Dr. Daw Khin Win
Shwe paid a courtesy call on Mr. Khamtai Siphandon, the visiting Laotian
prime minister, and his wife Madam Thongvan Siphandon, at the 
Seinlekanthar State Guest House at 1130 today.  [passage omitted on tour 
and tree planting]
An agreement signing ceremony between the governments of the Union of
Myanmar and the LPDR was held at the Treaties Chamber of the People's
Assembly Building in Yangon at 1600 today.  The ceremony was attended by 
Sr. Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC Chairman and prime minister; Gen. Maung Aye, 
SLORC vice chairman, deputy commander in chief of the Defense Services, 
and army commander in chief; SLORC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt; SLORC 
Secretary-2 Lt. Gen. Tin U; Vice Admiral Maung Maung Khin and Lt. Gen. 
Tin Tun, both SLORC members and deputy prime ministers; ministers, and 
senior officials.
A cooperation agreement to prevent illicit trafficking of narcotics,
psychotropic substances, and chemicals used in refining drugs was signed
and later exchanged by Myanmar Police Force Director General Soe Win,
secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, and Laotian
Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Phongsavat Boupha.
Another agreement, on cooperation and administration of Myanmar- Lao
border region, was signed and later exchanged by Myanmar Deputy Foreign 
Minister U Nyunt Swe and Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Phongsavat 


April 18, 1997

                     Durban, 18 April 1997

           Honorary Doctorate for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

 In a remote part of the world, 40 million people are kept in a prison 
without walls.  Their everyday existence is dominated by fear.  Those who
dare ask for democracy are usually answered with bullets.  The jackboots
who control this beautiful land have met their match in one woman who
simply is not afraid.  Aung San Suu Kyi is the lone voice of the 
frightened and her country, Burma, is one of the most violent places on 
earth. This is a  violence that should not be, for the demand of the 
Burmese is simply for basic human rights.  The generals who have ruled 
Burma since 1962 are deaf to their people but the chorus demanding they 
step down is growing internationally.

The Free Campaign applauds the University of Natal for lending its voice
to this chorus.  The university will confer on Aung San Suu Kyi an
honorary doctorate on April 23, 1997 at its graduation ceremony in
Durban. She has been unable and unwilling to leave Burma to accept a host 
of awards, among which are the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace and the
prestigious Sakharov Prize.  Her refusal is based on the belief that the 
military may refuse to allow her back into the country.  Being the 
international symbol of the Burmese pro-democracy movement, she considers 
her daily responsibilities far too immense to away from her beloved people.

Her poignant appeal to the international community is to, "Please use
your liberty to promote ours."  As a people recently liberated from the 
yoke of authoritarian rule, we, South Africans, have a moral obligation 
to answer this desperate call for help.  It was after all the selfless 
sacrifices of ordinary men and women in all corners of the world who 
helped us defeat the tyranny of apartheid.  Burma is a tyranny that we 
dare not allow to continue.  The Free Burma Campaign urges the South 
African government to distance itself from the military authorities in 
Rangoon and work towards its isolation in international fora.  The 
University of Natal has boldly taken the first step and President Mandela 
would do well to offer the support of our freedom-loving people to Aung 
San Suu Kyi and the freedom-seeking people of Burma.

 Released by :  Free Burma Campaign (South Africa) , P.O. Box 138 ,
 Pavilion, 3611  South Africa   Tel: Intl +27 82 4166585
                                     Local 0824166585
                                     Email:  kiru@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


April 19, 1997

Free Burma Coalition, Australia



Our colleagues in the US are staging three days of action to pressure the 
US administration into imposing sanctions against the SLORC.  During this 
three day period we ask that you take some form of action that will 
support their campaign.  OCAW, oil workers union in the US is joining 
hands with students and the community in an all out attempt at forcing 
the hand of us policy makers.

Please join the Australia Burma Council  and the Burma Office , Sydney by 
writing letters to Alexander Downer asking that forms of sanctions be 
imposed against the SLORC. 

The Hon. Alexander Downer M.P.
Minister Foreign Affairs
Ministerial Wing
Parliament House 
Canberra Act 2600

FAX: (06) 273   4112


Dear Minister,

As you are aware the state law and order restoration council (SLORC) has 
been escalating repression against their own people, in particular, the 
students, monks, members of the non-Burman states and members and 
supporters of the National League for Democracy.

In a motion which was passed by the Australian senate on the 19th June 
1996 the SLORC was put on notice that sanctions would be considered if 
civil and political rights were not restored. 
"the senate-

(a) expresses greetings to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her birthday on the 
19th June;

(b) notes:

(1) with deep concern, the recent moves by the military regime in Burma 
against the democracy movement in the country,

(2) reports that the SLORC is using torched earth tactics, in form of 
looting and burning villages in the Kayah state, and

(111) with approval, the strong statement by the minister foreign 
affairs, Alexander Downer, in response to renewed repression in Burma;

(c) welcomes moves by the state legislature of Massachusetts in the US to 
ban state contracts with companies doing business in Burma, and

(d) calls on the government of Australia to put SLORC on notice that 
potential trade sanctions must be placed on the agenda if civil and 
political rights are not restored."

Minister, given the increasing use of slavery being used to construct 
infrastructure necessary for tourism, the renewed civil war against the 
Karen people, increasing intimidation of members of the NLD, an 
increasing number of unjust sentences being meted out in a bid to shut 
down the NLD and the obvious instability within the SLORC themselves we 
are of the considered opinion that forms of sanctions must now be 
implemented by the Australian government.  

As the senate resolution of june 19th 1996 calls for you to put SLORC on 
notice that sanctions will be considered if civil and political rights 
are not restored it seems only correct that ten months later with the 
situation worse than ever and deteriorating by the day that you do just that.

Once again we call on the australian government to impose forms of 
sanctions, as is deemed appropriate, until the SLORC agrees to hold 
meaningful political dialogue with the NLD, ends the civil war and ceases 
all forms of denial of human and civil rights in Burma.

We thank you for your attention and, as always, we thank you for the 
constant diplomatic representation made to various international bodies 
and nations by you on behalf of the democratic movement of burma.

Yours sincerely,


Labor Council Build. Suite 6, 8th Floor, 377-383 Sussex St. Sydney 2000
Fax: (612) 9264 7693		Tel: (612) 9264 7694
PO Box 2024 Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Fax: (616) 297 7734		Tel: (616) 297 7773