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BurmaNet News April 21, 1997
- Subject: BurmaNet News April 21, 1997
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 05:17:00
------------------------ BurmaNet-- Congressman Christopher Smith on the plight of t ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: April 21, 1997
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
THAILAND TIMES: BURMESE TROOPS ATTACK STUDENT CAMP
THAILAND TIMES:CHAVALIT:SLORC CHAIRMAN TO STEP ASIDE
THAILAND TIMES:BURMESE MUSLIMS LAUNCH PROTEST
THE VILLAGE VOICE:LOCAL LOBBYISTS AND UNOCAL SHILL
THE NATION: ARMY SETS ONE WEEK DEADLINE FOR REFUGEES
VOA REPORT: US SANCTIONS ON BURMA
REUTERS:BURMA-U.S. SANCTIONS "WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION"
BOSTON GLOBE: MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS
BKK POST: CHAVALIT TO VISIT BURMA NEXT MONTH
RANGOON RADIO MYANMAR:LAOS' KHAMTAI ARRIVE
FBC-SA: HONORARY DOCTORATE FOR DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
FBC AUSTRALIA: THREE DAYS FOR BURMA
THAILAND TIMES: BURMESE TROOPS ATTACK DISSIDENT STUDENT CAMP
April 20, 19997
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
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.
THAILAND TIMES:CHAVALIT SAYS SLORC CHAIRMAN TO STEP ASIDE
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
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
THAILAND TIMES:BURMESE MUSLIMS LAUNCH PROTEST AGAINST SLORC
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
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
THE VILLAGE VOICE: "LOCAL LOBBYISTS AND UNOCAL SHILL FOR BURMA'S
MILITARY JUNTA" BEYOND RANGOON
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
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
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.
THE NATION: ARMY SETS ONE WEEK DEADLINE FOR REFUGEES
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
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.
VOA REPORT: US SANCTIONS ON BURMA
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)
REUTERS: BURMA SAYS U.S. SANCTIONS "WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION"
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
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.
BOSTON GLOBE: MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS BURMA SANCTIONS BILL
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
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.
BKK POST: CHAVALIT TO VISIT BURMA NEXT MONTH
April 20, 1997
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.
RANGOON RADIO MYANMAR:LAOS' KHAMTAI ARRIVE IN RANGOON; DRUG PACT SIGNED
[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
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
FBC SOUTH AFRICA: HONORARY DOCTORATE FOR DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
April 18, 1997
STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE FREE BURMA CAMPAIGN (SOUTH AFRICA)
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
FBC AUSTRALIA: THREE DAYS FOR BURMA
April 19, 1997
Free Burma Coalition, Australia
WHEN SPIDERS UNITE THEY CAN TIE DOWN A LION
LETS DO IT
THREE DAYS OF ACTION
22ND APRIL TO 24TH APRIL INCL.
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
Canberra Act 2600
FAX: (06) 273 4112
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.
(a) expresses greetings to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her birthday on the
(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.
FREE BURMA COALITION, AUSTRALIA IS WORKING FOR THE:
NATIONAL COALITION GOVERNMENT OF THE UNION OF BURMA, FEDERATION OF TRADE
UNIONS, BURMA AUSTRALIA BURMA COUNCIL
BURMA OFFICE, SYDNEY: MINN AUNG MYINT (burma@xxxxxxxxxx)
Labor Council Build. Suite 6, 8th Floor, 377-383 Sussex St. Sydney 2000
Fax: (612) 9264 7693 Tel: (612) 9264 7694
AUSTRALIAN REP OFFICE, CANBERRA: AMANDA (azappia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
PO Box 2024 Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Fax: (616) 297 7734 Tel: (616) 297 7773