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BurmaNet News: June 5, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
        June 5, 2001   Issue # 1818
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*BBC: UN envoy 'fails' in Burma
*Burma Courier: Controversial Mon State Dam Finally Commissioned
*AP: New history textbook tells Myanmar kids that Thais are lazy 
*AFP: Japanese man caught smuggling rare turtles from Myanmar 
*Xinhua: Myanmar Makes Efforts in Environment Protection By Duan 

MONEY _______
*Xinhua: Myanmar to Export Opium-Substitute Crop to Japan
*Xinhua: Tourist Arrivals in Myanmar Decline in January, February

*FEER: Thai Queen Backs Tough General
*Mizzima: Burma frontiers' Alliance says it has no agenda of 

*New York Times: Myanmar Tests Resolve of I.L.O. on Enforcing Standards
*AFP: Myanmar dissidents demand 'failed' talks be exposed to scrutiny 
*Reuters: Exiles call for pressure on Myanmar over talks
*Malaysia (AP): U.N. envoy: military, opposition in Myanmar have been 
*AFP: Malaysian group condemns anti-Muslim attacks in Myanmar 

*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Those who daren't show their face - 17

*Altsean: Poster and Booklet available for Women of Burma Day 
2001--"What Women of Burma Want!"
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

BBC: UN envoy 'fails' in Burma

Monday 4th July (20:10)

Cue: The UN special envoy for Burma, Razali Ismail doesn't seem to have 
been able to resuscitate  the talks between Burma's military leaders and 
the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a short statement issued in 
New York on Monday, the UN Secretary General simply said he hoped Mr 
Razali's trip to Rangoon would help contribute to progress in the talks. 
Diplomats in Rangoon had hoped Mr Razali's trip would bring new momentum 
to the dialogue process which he helped foster late last year. Larry 
Jagan reports) 

The UN Secretary General's statement on Mr Razali's visit seems to imply 
that the UN has again failed in its efforts to bring democratic change 
to Burma -- something the UN has been trying to encourage for more than 
ten years. During Mr Razali's visit to  Burma, Kofi Annan said, he had 
had important discussions with both the country's military leaders and 
Aung San Suu Kyi. But all the UN could say about the outcome of his 
trip, was that they hoped that Mr Razali's visit would help the dialogue 
process progress further. For sometime now many analysts believe the 
talks between the two sides had stalled. Mr Razali's visit seems to have 
had little impact on the talks. Diplomats in Rangoon say Mr Razali was 
very down beat when he left Rangoon on Monday. The special envoy himself 
is refusing to comment on the talks publicly. UN sources say this 
doesn't mean the talks have broken down altogether, but that the whole 
process of nation reconciliation in Burma was going to take some time. 
Sources close to the UN envoy told the BBC that the main problem was 
that many of Burma's Generals still feared that democratic change would 
lead to the break-up of the country. But many analysts also believe that 
Burma's leaders have little option but to involve Aung San Suu Kyi and 
the National League for Democracy in determining the country's future, 
or face economic ruin. While the secret talks between the military and 
Aung San Suu Kyi remain fairly precarious, the international community 
will be looking for some major concessions - like the release of 
political prisoners or even the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house 
arrest - if they are to believe that they are anything more than the 
miltary junta trying to deflect international criticism.  

AP: U.N. envoy: military, opposition in Myanmar have been talking 

KUALA LUMPUR- 5 June 2001

The U.N. envoy credited with brokering discussions between Myanmar's 
military rulers and its pro-democracy leaders said Tuesday they have 
been in talks, and was cautiously optimistic they could reach an 

 But Razali Ismail, a Malaysian diplomat who just returned from a visit 
to Myanmar where he met members of the ruling junta and pro-democracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, would not give any details of the talks or say 
when they occurred. 

 ``I can confirm that they have been talking,'' Razali told The 
Associated Press. 

 Asked if he was confident the two sides could reach agreement, Razali 
said: ``I remain realistic enough that it can be done, it must be 

 He declined to enter into ``any qualitative discussion'' about his most 
recent visit to Myanmar, but said that it was ``it was important for me 
to be there.'' 

 ``I think the U.N.'s role is further underlined by my visit,'' he said. 

 Western nations and Myanmar's opposition hope that the talks could lead 
democracy in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962. 

 The current group of generals took power after crushing a pro-democracy 
movement in 1988, killing thousands of people. 

 The junta called national elections in 1990 but refused to honor the 
results when the Suu Kyi's party won overwhelmingly. Since then, the 
junta has harassed and arrested scores of opposition members and 
thwarted political activity. 

 Suu Kyi has been living under virtual house arrest since September.
 Razali is credited with achieving the first breakthrough in the 
deadlock by initiating reconciliation talks between Suu Kyi and the 
junta leaders in October, conducted in secrecy in the Nobel Peace 
laureate's lakeside villa. 

 Belying initial hopes of progress, however, some diplomats and 
pro-democracy groups have expressed concern that the talks have stalled. 

 ``The current talks are not open,'' the All Burma Students' Democratic 
Front said in a statement issued in Bangkok Tuesday. ``People are 
frustrated waiting for information while human rights abuses and forced 
labor are still occurring inside the country. 

 ``We ask (both sides) to open up the talks so the people of Burma and 
the world can see if there is progress,'' spokesman Sonny Mahinder said. 

 Earlier Tuesday, a U.S. State Department official said in Kuala Lumpur 
that U.N. efforts to foster talks between the two sides in Myanmar began 
promisingly, but that after six months there is little to show for it. 

 President George W. Bush's administration strongly supports efforts to 
bring about democracy in Myanmar and was encouraged by the release of a 
small number of prisoners in March and the visit in April by a U.N. 
human rights investigator, said Ralph Boyce, the deputy assistant 
secretary at the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific 

 ``However, it has now been over six months since the political dialogue 
began and there have been few signs of significant progress,'' Boyce 
said at an Asia-Pacific Roundtable conference. 
 ``We hope that the regime in Yangon understands the urgent need for 
positive political developments.'' 

2001-06-05 Tue 07:47 

Burma Courier: Controversial Mon State Dam Finally Commissioned

Based on news from NLM and Independent Mon News Agency:  Updated to May 

A controversy-plagued dam, whose inauguration was twice postponed for 
security reasons, was finally commissioned into operation in southern 
Mudon township last Saturday by the military council's Gen Khin Nyunt.

An earlier opening scheduled for March 14 had to be postponed, a Mon 
news agency reported this week, after a guerrilla force of the Karen 
National Liberation Army staged a lightning raid against the facility on 
the night of Mar 5-6.  During the attack several Burma army soldiers 
assigned to guard the construction area, including an officer, were 
killed and equipment and fuel oil at the construction site were 

In an interview at the time, Padoh Mahn Sha of the Karen National Union 
claimed that nine hundred labourers in a nearby construction camp, who 
had been forced to work on the facility, had been released during the 
operation and that the engineer in charge of the project, U Tin Lwin, 
had been captured and was being held for exchange purposes.

Last year, the Mon Human Rights Committee reported that 2,000 acres of 
land used for rubber tree plantations by farmers from three nearby 
villages had been confiscated without compensation during preparations 
for the construction.  Farmers who lost their income had been forced to 
migrate to Thailand, the MHRC said.

The opening ceremony on May 26 was marked by the first public appearance 
of the new commander of the Southeast Military Command, Brig-Gen Myint 
Swe.  It only occurred after a second postponement from May 15 for 
"security reasons" , the IMNA reported. The Mon news agency said that 
villagers who were unable to attend the grand opening had been fined 
from 100-500 kyats for missing the occasion.  The IMNA cited the example 
of the headman from Kao Payan who had been forced to sign a contract 
guaranteeing the attendance of three hundred persons from his village.

In his speech at the inauguration ceremony, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt told the 
crowd of 16,000 that Senior General Than Shwe had given guidance to the 
nation that arrangements were to be made for "value-added water and 
land".  He said that in building dams such as Winphanon the government 
was aiming "to benefit the local people without taking economic profits 
into account" and reminded them that the value of land in the area of 
the dam was already rising. The general also warned the people to 
"safeguard" the new structure. 

Water from reservoir behind the 178 foot-high earthen dam will be used 
irrigate 13,000 acres of farm land.

AP: New history textbook tells Myanmar kids that Thais are lazy 

YANGON, Myanmar - 2001-06-05 Tue 06:31 

Fourth graders in Myanmar will be required to study a new history 
textbook on Myanmar-Thai relations, which portrays Thais as servile and 

 The new textbook will be mandatory reading in government schools for 
9-year-olds who began the 2001-2002 academic year on Monday after a 
three-month holiday. The textbook is a 12-page supplement to the regular 
history book. 

 Its surprise addition to the curriculum is certain to infuriate 
Thailand, which has been engaged in a war of words with Myanmar for 
months. The Thai government did not immediately comment on the 

 Thai-Myanmar relations have plunged to their lowest level, principally 
over Thailand's accusations that Myanmar's ruling junta aids drug 
traffickers. Myanmar denies the charge and charges Thailand with 
supporting anti-government rebels. Their arguments have sparked frequent 
border skirmishes since January.
 The book says Thailand has consistently launched anti-Myanmar campaigns 
and those who grew up under such campaign had deep-rooted hatred for the 
Myanmar people. 

 The book has five chapters, the last one titled ``Current Myanmar-Thai 
relationship.'' Its three subchapters blame Thailand for the support to 
anti-government dissidents, loss of Myanmar's natural resources and the 
drug problem. 

 ``Thai people are given to fun and appreciation of beauty. They are 
disinclined to self-reliance and hard work,'' according to an excerpt 
from the chapter, ``Traits and Characteristics of Thai People''. 

 ``In order to keep their thrones, Thai kings often yield to the West 
European nations,'' says the Myanmar-language books, in an apparent 
reference to the fact that unlike other Southeast Asian countries 
Thailand was never colonized by a Western power. 
 ``During the first World War Thais sided with the Allies; during the 
second World War Thais first sided with the Japanese and later with the 
Allied forces. ... Foreign policy of Thailand is known 'to bend with the 
wind,''' according to the text book. 

 The textbook also recalled history when successive Myanmar kings 
attacked Thailand after alleged intrusions by Thai soldiers. 

 It concludes with the statement that ``the narcotic problem will exist 
so long as Thailand continues to accept and support the insurgents, 
because drug trafficking problems are connected with insurgents.'' 

 Thailand says Myanmar's military junta does little to stop the 
production of drugs in its border areas where an ethnic armed group, the 
United Wa State Army, has virtual control. The drugs, largely 
methamphetamines, land up in Thailand in huge quantities, and the 
government has declared it public enemy no. 1. 

 The UWSA has been named by the U.S. State Department as the biggest 
drug army in the world. Myanmar says it is trying to put an end to the 
narcotics business but says the problem wouldn't be so rampant if 
corrupt Thai officials were not involved as well.  

2001-06-05 Tue 06:31 

AFP: Japanese man caught smuggling rare turtles from Myanmar 

YANGON, June 5 

 Myanmar authorities Tuesday said they had seized 84 endangered turtles 
from a Japanese man who attempted to smuggle them out of the country 
aboard a commercial flight. 

 Yoshiyuki Abiko was caught Sunday trying to board a Thai Airways flight 
to Bangkok with suitcases containing the rare turtles, which were from a 
species found only in Myanmar. 

 Customs officials handed the creatures over to the wildlife 
conservation unit of the Forestry Department, the military government 
said in an official information sheet. 

 A Japanese embassy official here said Abiko had been deported to Japan, 
and that he had not been charged with any offence in Myanmar. 

Xinhua: Myanmar Makes Efforts in Environment Protection By Duan 

YANGON, June 5

Myanmar has been making efforts in protection and conservation of 
environment by enacting seven environment-related laws over the past two 
decades. These laws are known as the Territorial Sea and Maritime Zones 
Law, Pesticide Law, Marine Fisheries Law, Fresh Water Fisheries Law, 
Forest Law, Plant Pest Quarantine Law, and Wild Life and Wild Plants 
Protection and Natural Areas Conservation Law. Of them, the Territorial 
Sea and Maritime Zones Law was promulgated in 1977 to protect the marine 
resources from extinction and over-exploitation. The Pesticide Law, 
prescribed in 1990, was for prohibition against misuse or over-use of 
pesticide which may cause impact to plants and living things. The 1992 
Myanmar Forest Law governs systematic conservation of the state's forest 
resources and extraction of forest products. The 1994 Wild Life and Wild 
Plants Protection and Natural Areas Conservation Law deals particularly 
with biological diversity, prohibiting illegal hunting, poaching and 
trading of animals and their parts. In line with the Global Agenda 21 
designed for effective environmental management, the country also 
formulated Myanmar Agenda 21 in 1997 which is a program for sustainable 

 The Myanmar government is reportedly in the process of drafting two new 
environmental laws -- the Environmental Protection law and the 
Environmental Impact Assessment Rules -- to strengthen the related 
management in the country. In addition, it formed the National 
Commission for Environmental Affairs (NCEA) in 1990 and established the 
Dry Zone Greening Department to endeavor for greening the arid central 
Myanmar with greening projects in 13 districts being implemented. 
Furthermore, Myanmar conducts nationwide tree-planting campaign, 
participated by governmental and non-governmental organizations, local 
communities, farmers and students, and more than 11 million seedlings 
are planted all over the country every year. While expanding 
agricultural lands to boost production or setting up new industries and 
factories, the Myanmar government also takes special care to avoid 
negative impact on the environment. Care is also exercised in granting 
foreign investment projects to ensure that they meet strict 
environmental standards or keep with the existing environmental rules 
and regulations and environmental considerations. The country is also 
participating actively in a number of regional programs and projects 
designed to prevent environmental degradation. On the international 
front, Myanmar has signed a number of international environmental 
agreements and conventions such as the U.N. Framework Convention on 
Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Vienna 
Convention and the Montreal Protocol for Protection of the Ozone Layer 
and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Flora and Fauna. Myanmar is still green with more than 50 percent of its 
land covered with forest. The land area of reserved and protected forest 
amounts to more than 104,000 square-kilometers. There are over 3,410 
kinds of botanical plants in the country, of which trees take up 2,700 
kinds, bamboo 96 kinds and cane 36 kinds. There are also more than 1,240 
kinds of birds. 


Xinhua: Myanmar to Export Opium-Substitute Crop to Japan

YANGON, June 5 

 Myanmar has reached a contract with Japan to export buckwheat, a kind 
of opium-substitute crop, to Japan, according to Myanmar's Department of 
Progress of Border Areas and National Races Tuesday. The contract to 
export three containers of buckwheat to Japan was signed between the 
Myanma Agricultural Produce Trading and the Japan International 
Corporation Agency on Monday. Meanwhile, earlier in February, Myanmar 
also reached a memorandum of understanding with Japan to purchase 20 
tons of buckwheat seeds from Japan for cultivation of the crop in 
northern Shan state of the country. In 1992, Myanmar and Japan agreed to 
substitute opium poppy with buckwheat in Myanmar's poppy-growing 
northern Shan state and it was realized in 1997 with trial cultivation 
successfully conducted in the state's Tarshwetang area.

 Cultivation of opium-substitute crops plays a key role in tackling the 
food problem of these poppy-growing areas as well as in consolidating 
Myanmar's achievements made in drug control. According to official 
statistics, in 2000, the cultivated areas of poppy-substitute crops in 
Kokang area of northern Shan state reached 17,520 hectares, of which 
buckwheat took up 1,320 hectares, while sugar cane represented 16,200 
hectares. The growing of the crops were greatly assisted by Japan and 

Xinhua: Tourist Arrivals in Myanmar Decline in January, February

Rangoon, 5 June 2001

A total of 32,377 foreign tourists visited Myanmar in the first two 
months of this year, dropping in number by 32.6 percent compared with 
the corresponding period of 2000, the country's Economic Indicators said 
in its latest issue.

The decline was obvious in the number of those travelling across border, 
reaching only 4,692 during the two-month period and constituting a fall 
of 77.8 percent in the cross-border arrivals from the same period of 
2000 when it was 21,195.

The sharp reduction of cross-border tourists arrival was seen as being 
due to the outbreak of border clashes in February between Myanmar and 
Thailand which is one of Myanmar's two neighboring countries supplying 
most of the tourists to the country.

While the number of foreign tourists arriving Myanmar by land was 
experiencing a sharp drop in the two months, those coming in by air 
increased by 2.8 percent, reaching 27,685 as compared with the same 
period of 2000.

According to official statistics, in 2000, the number of tourist 
arrivals was registered at only 234,900, falling by 9.3 percent from 
1999. Of them, 49 percent entered the country by land through border 



FEER: Thai Queen Backs Tough General

Issue of May 31, 2001

Thailand's Queen Sirikit has played an uncharacteristically strident 
behind-the-scenes role in reinforcing controversial northern-based 3rd 
Army Commander Lt.-Gen. Wattanachai Chaimuenwong's position. According 
to a senior Thai official close to the palace, the queen intervened 
earlier this year to ensure the general remained in his post despite a 
reported plan by new Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to move him 
in the April mid-year military reshuffle. Ex-Prime Minister Prem 
Tinsulanonda, current head of the Privy Council, also used his influence 
to keep Wattanachai in place. The crux of the issue was that Wattanachai 
has taken a tough line toward Burmese troops and fighters from Rangoon's 
ally, the drug-making Wa United State Army, when they cross the Thai 
border to chase ethnic minority insurgents or protect drug routes. 
Chavalit takes a softer line towards Burma and its military rulers, whom 
he calls his friends. Queen Sirikit has rarely been known to act in such 
a way, but analysts say the queen is noted for her deeply nationalistic 


Mizzima: Burma frontiers' Alliance says it has no agenda of 

New Delhi, June 2, 2001 

Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

A recently formed umbrella of five tribal militant organizations from 
India and Burma today denied that it does not have any intra-ethnic 
contradictions or confrontations in its political agenda. The Indigenous 
People's Revolutionary Alliance (IPRA) said that its formation aims for 
peace and cultural harmony of the indigenous people of the region.  

"The IPRA is basically an alliance of the indigenous groups of people 
inhabiting the Indo-Bangladesh-Burma frontiers with a common political 
objective of a consummate revolution ? political and culturally and make 
the people realize that they are one and the same", said a statement 
faxed to Mizzima today.  

The IPRA was formed on last May 27 with five Zo ethnic militant groups 
based along the borders of India, Burma and Bangladesh. It consisted of 
Zomi Reunification Organization (ZRO), Kuki National Front (P), Kuki 
National Front (MC), Hmar People's Convention ? Democrats (HPC-D) and 
Kuki National Army (KNA).  

Quoting the police sources, a daily newspaper published in Manipur State 
today mentioned that IPRA is formed basically to fight unitedly against 
Naga and Meitei insurgent groups in Manipur.  

"We strongly denied this baseless version of disinformation. It (the 
report) is misleading. We formed the IPRA with the main objective of the 
indigenous peoples to live together and not to disturb each other", said 
Mr. Thanlianpau, chairman of the IPRA.  

Mr. Thanlianpau was elected as a Member of Parliament in the 1990 
elections in Burma and he is also president of Zomi Reunification 
Organization (ZRO), which is based on India-Burma border.  

"IPRA is for peace and cultural harmony of the indigenous people of the 
region and a lasting peace in the region", he said. " The IPRA is 
initiating tireless efforts to bring lasting peace and harmony among 
Naga-Kuki brothers".  


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

New York Times: Myanmar Tests Resolve of I.L.O. on Enforcing Standards

GENEVA, June 4 


Nearly all governments agree smooth, seamless international trade is 
good and mistreatment of workers is bad.

But as antiglobalization protests in Seattle and elsewhere have 
illustrated, when free trade and labor standards intersect, the results 
can be surprisingly troublesome.

Look no further than efforts by many governments to take Myanmar to task 
for flouting international prohibitions against forced labor.

Last November, the International Labor Organization, a United Nations 
affiliate based in Geneva with 175 member  countries, called for stiff 
measures against Myanmar, formerly called Burma, because of the military 
government's practice of forcing villagers to do unpaid construction 

Initially, the European Union, the United States and other countries 
indicated that they would impose sanctions against Myanmar over the 
issue. But a new report by the labor organization failed to identify a 
single nation that had responded to its call with any concrete action.

The reason is that Myanmar belongs to the World Trade Organization, and 
sanctions with some sting - like a ban on textile exports - would 
violate W.T.O. rules.

If anything, the effort to isolate and punish Myanmar over its labor 
practices is losing ground. Japan recently announced the largest aid 
package since the military government suppressed prodemocracy 
demonstrators more than a decade ago.

The United States State Department listed Myanmar as among the three 
worst offenders in its annual report on human rights abuse, and trade 
preferences for Myanmar were suspended years ago; Americans are also 
banned from investing in Myanmar. But there is limited support in 
Congress for additional sanctions - in part because the government of 
Myanmar has reopened dialogue with the country's most prominent 
dissident, Aung San Suu Kyi - and the United States remains Myanmar's 
largest export market.

Indeed, Myanmar's trade with both the United States and the European 
Union has soared recently. According to Eurostat, the union's 
statistical agency, the volume of trade between the 15 countries in the 
union and Myanmar shot up from 222.6 million euros ($188 million) in 
December 1999 to 404.3 million ($342 million) in December 2000. The 
Commerce Department reports a near- quadrupling of American imports from 
Myanmar since 1997, reaching $412 million last year.

Oddly, that growth has occurred in part because of American diplomatic 
cold-shouldering of Myanmar. No agreement has been negotiated on a 
bilateral quota for apparel, like the ones the United States has with 
most other developing countries. Manufacturers from China and elsewhere 
have set up shop in Myanmar specifically to exploit the loophole.

The labor organization's fruitless effort to take a strong stand against 
Myanmar has shed a harsh light on its lack of enforcement power. At the 
March meeting of the organization's governing body, American officials 
worried publicly about its ineffectiveness. "In the absence of 
democratic reforms in Burma, the practical ability of an I.L.O. presence 
there to assure that forced labor has been eliminated nationwide is 
highly problematic," Charles Spring, a Labor Department official, told 
the group.

Not that it has not kept trying: in late May, the organization said 
Myanmar had agreed in principle to allow an I.L.O. team into the country 
to conduct an independent investigation of its arguments that  it is 
moving against forced labor. Details have yet to be negotiated.

The Bush administration has said it opposes the direct linking of trade 
issues and worker safeguards. In April, the White House said it would 
review a free-trade pact that the Clinton administration concluded last 
year with Jordan that included labor-standards provisions, the first 
such pact to do so.

Many developing nations prefer to leave the issue of labor standards to 
the labor organization, while trade unions and workers' rights activists 
want the World Trade Organization to have jurisdiction because the trade 
group's dispute-settlement system has the power to authorize trade 

Some on Capitol Hill would like to force the issue by enacting a ban on 
textile imports from Myanmar, which would probably provoke a complaint 
to the World Trade Organization. In late May, Senator Tom Harkin, 
Democrat of Iowa, introduced such a bill in the Senate.

William Goold, an aide to Senator Harkin, said leaving the matter solely 
to the labor organization was "asking governments to ignore the clear 
limitations of the I.L.O."

The labor organization is scheduled to discuss Myanmar again at its 
annual meeting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, human rights groups and trade 
unions say nothing has changed in Myanmar, despite a decree against 
forced labor last October that they called a sham.

"Clearly there is a reluctance by the international community to take 
concrete steps," said Janek Kuczkiewicz, Asian specialist for the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

Reuters: Exiles call for pressure on Myanmar over talks

BANGKOK, June 5 

A leading Myanmar dissident group called on Tuesday for international 
pressure on Yangon's military government to help speed up landmark talks 
between the military and opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi. In a sign 
of growing anxiety among pro-democracy supporters inside and outside 
Myanmar, the exiled All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) said 
progress in the eight-month dialogue between the two sides had been 
``virtually non-existent.'' 

 ``The current talks are not open. People are frustrated waiting for 
information while human rights abuses and forced labour are still 
occuring inside the country,'' the ABSDF said in a statement. 

 ``That is why the ABSDF strongly urges international governments and 
organisations to keep pressure on the (military government),'' it quoted 
ABSDF chairman Than Khe as saying. 

 The ABSDF represents hundreds of pro-democracy exiles living along the 
Thai-Myanmar border and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, many of whom fled 
Myanmar after the military crushed a student-led democracy uprising in 

 The group usually reflects the views of Suu Kyi's National League for 
Democracy (NLD), which won Myanmar's last democratic election in 1990 
but has never been allowed to govern. 

 Suu Kyi, under de facto house arrest in Yangon, has been holding 
secretive talks with Myanmar's ruling generals since October last year, 
raising hopes that the political stalemate that has gripped Myanmar for 
more than a decade could finally be broken. 


 But so far there have been no concrete signs of progress and concern 
has been growing that the talks are deadlocked. 

 Diplomats in Yangon say they believe the dialogue has stalled in recent 
months, amid talk of a heightened power struggle between senior members 
of the government. 

 Until recently both the government and NLD have stuck to an agreement 
not to criticise each other in public to allow the talks the best chance 
of success. 

 But in recent weeks this deal appears to have been broken. 

 NLD sources have begun to call for evidence that the talks are making 
progress and diplomats have warned the pro-democracy movement could 
break apart unless progress is made soon. 

 The exiles' statement came one day after U.N. special envoy to Myanmar 
Razali Ismail told diplomats he was confident Myanmar would make a 
transition from military rule in coming years. 
 The veteran Malaysian diplomat, who is credited with helping to broker 
the start of dialogue between the government and Nobel Peace Prize 
winner, on Monday ended a four-day visit to Myanmar. 				

 One diplomat who declined to be identified told Reuters on Monday that 
Razali thought Myanmar would move to civilian rule in ``two to four 

 The military says it is committed to building a democracy in Myanmar. 
However, it says the country could disintegrate if the process moves too 

 But the ABSDF urged both sides to ``open up'' the talks so the Myanmar 
people and the world ``can see if there is progress.'' 

2001-06-05 Tue 10:38 

AFP: Myanmar dissidents demand 'failed' talks be exposed to scrutiny 


 Secret talks between democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar's 
military regime have failed to make any head way and should now be 
opened to public scrutiny, a Myanmar dissident group Tuesday. 

 "The progress over the last eight months of dialogue has been virtually 
non-existent," the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) said in a 

 The Thailand-based activist group called on the opposition National 
League for Democracy (NLD) and the ruling State Peace and Development 
Council (SPDC) to reveal details of the contacts which began last 
 "We ask the NLD and SPDC to open up the talks so the people of Burma 
and the world can see if there is progress" said spokesman Sonny 

 "The current talks are not open. People are frustrated waiting for 
information while human rights abuses and forced labour are still 
occurring inside the country." 

 The ABSDF accused the military regime of staging religious and racial 
riots which have broken out in recent weeks to "distract people's 
attention from current political and economic problems." 
"The people of Burma should have access to information about the real 
progress of the talks," it said, urging foreign governments and rights 
organisations to maintain pressure on the SPDC. 

 UN envoy Razali Ismail ended a four-day mission to Myanmar on Monday 
where he met with Aung San Suu Kyi and top junta leaders in a bid to 
revive the reconciliation talks they embarked on last year. 

 The dialogue, the first between the two warring sides since 1994, 
initially raised hopes that 40 years of military rule might finally be 
coming to an end in Myanmar. 

 But in the last few months the contacts appear to have hit a road 
block, as elements within the junta baulked at the prospect of 
introducing democratic reforms.
 The government's decision to allow Razali to visit last week, after a 
worryingly long absence of five months, was hailed as a sign that the 
reconciliation process was back on track. 

 But eyebrows were raised again Monday when the Malaysian diplomat left 
Yangon without any of the prizes he was expected to be handed -- 
including the release of a batch of political prisoners and permission 
to release a statement on the direction and intent of the talks. 

 Instead, UN chief Kofi Annan later made a vaguely-worded statement 
which said only that the visit by his special envoy had been "timely" 
and that he hoped it would help reconcile the military rulers and 

 Dissident groups and the nation's many ethnic minorities, whose support 
will be crucial in any transition to democracy, have made increasingly 
loud calls for light to be shed on the secret dialogue. 

 "It's difficult for everyone else to have the patience and forbearance 
to deal with this situation when we don't have a great deal of 
information to go on," said one diplomat in Yangon after Razali's 

 "The mood here is one that we have to be very patient and we have a 
long way to go," he added. 



AFP: Malaysian group condemns anti-Muslim attacks in Myanmar 


 A Malaysian Islamic group Tuesday condemned anti-Muslim attacks in 
Myanmar last month, and called for an independent investigation into 

 Myanmar's military government last month declared a curfew in the 
central town of Taungoo after clashes broke out between Muslims and 
Buddhists on May 15. The cause was not known. 
 The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, which has 60,000 members, said 
there were unconfirmed reports that at least 10 Muslims had been killed 
and several others injured in last month's clashes. 

 "We strongly urge the Myanmar junta to immediately intervene in the 
riot and further safeguard lives and property of Muslims and mosques in 
Myanmar from the anti-Muslim elements," it said in a statement. 		

 The group also appealed to the United Nations and the Organisation of 
Islamic Conference to press Myanmar to allow an independent 

 It called on the junta to rebuild mosques destroyed in the clashes. 

 The riots were the second involving Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar in 
three months. In February the junta declared a curfew in the western 
city of Sittwe after riots broke out between the two communities there. 
The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia accused Myanmar's military 
intelligence service of instigating the February clashes in which it 
said many Muslims were killed. 

 Buddhists make up some 89 percent of the population in Myanmar, with 
Muslims and Christians each representing four percent. 


The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Those who daren't show their face - 17

Sunday, 3 June, 2001

By Pauk Sa

Wa ethnic people held a News Briefing in Mongyun on 12 May 2001. Forty 
observers 24 representatives of the signatory countries to Memorandum of 
 Understanding on Drug Control in East Asia and the Pacific Sub-region, 
which are Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Vietnam and 
Thailand, and UNDP and 16 local and foreign journalists were present. 
The foreign journalist were from AP, Reuters, AFP and DPA, who were in 
Yangon then.

I could not stay silent after the News Briefing anymore as there 
appeared slanders. So, it has become a duty for me to say about the News 
Briefing. DVB announced a news report under the heading " DVB interviews 
AFP correspondent who visited Mongyu"  at 6 pm on 16 May 2001. In the 
news report, DVB made slanderous accusations on the Wa ethnic people. 
What the AFP correspondent said in the interview was that he didn't find 
any trace of drugs; that according to some Wa soldiers he had talked 
with, few people could be involved in the drug business; that it was 
clear that if not all the people of Mongyun were involved in the drug 
business, the majority would be engaged in it; and that in accord with 
the Thai intelligence reports and international assessment, the region 
was thought to have involved in the drug business.

What happened? Despite the fact that he had attended the News Briefing 
and seen and heard about the fabrications made by Thai intelligence with 
poor quality photographs, he was talking lies as if he was not present 
at the News Briefing. Such lies should not come from a real 
correspondent's mouth. I would like to suggest him to examine himself to 
know his status as he had told such lies.

It is not proper to make clear things confused. As there was not a 
single trace of drugs, even a child can know that the Wa people have no 
connection with the drugs. In this situation, he made a brazen lie, 
saying that according to his conversation with some Wa soldiers, few 
persons could be involved in the drug business. He was so foolhardy. It 
is clear that no Wa soldier would say such a thing. It is just a 
fabrication uttered from the correspondent's mouth.

  Because the correspondent never raised any questions concerning the 
matter to Wa national leaders at the News Briefing, and instead, talked 
about it only in the interview. Thus, it is nothing, but an unacceptable 
lie. If he is a sincere correspondent, he should have asked the 
personnel concerned at the News Briefing or during the tour the matters 
he found confusing. As he said random words in the interview, saying 
that the information was based on this or that sources, I dare say that 
he should be an agent under the guise of a journalist.

At the News Briefing, the liaison officer of Wa national people said 
that concerning the Thai media's accusations on the Mongyun's production 
and distribution of drugs, members of the team were allowed to visit any 
place freely and without restrictions to find out whether the region was 
producing or distributing drugs or not. This was stated in the dailies.

Moreover, a friend of mine, a journalist who accompanied the team during 
the tour, had already told me about the frankness and sincerity of the 
Wa liaison officer in meeting the representatives and the journalists.

My friend told me, that the Wa liaison officer had invited the local and 
foreign correspondents to visit Mongyun at any time and at will. But he 
said, Mongyun would never accept any Thai correspondents as they were 
creating fabrications to insult the Wa people. He added that when Wa 
people crossed the border to the other side, the Thai army made a 
thorough search on their body and all their possession; that sometimes 
Thai soldiers planted stimulant pills in the pockets or bags of Wa 
travellers in order to arrest them; that as Wa people had already faced 
such experiences, they wore clothing without pocket and never took any 
bags in crossing the border to avoid the Thai trap; that it can be seen 
that there were racial oppressions on the Wa people; that Wa ethnic 
people loved peace and that they liked to earn their living with peace 
of mind; that they would never yield to unjust racial oppressions; that 
Wa people had fought battles since childhood; and that they were ready 
to daringly resist any form of unjust oppressions.

These were the words said by the Wa liaison officer at the News Briefing 
in a frank and sincere way. Moreover, members of the team liked his bold 
way of explaining to them about the salient points of the region.

When the team visited a rice mill, he said " It is the rice mill that is 
accused by Commander Lt-Gen Watanachai of No 3 Army of Thailand as a 
stimulant producing factory "  and conducted the team members around the 
facility. When they arrived at another place, he said " This is the 
shopping mall accused by Thai intelligence as a casino with false 
photographs"  and shown them around it. During the visit to the 
Hydroelectric Power Plant, he said " This is the facility accused by the 
Thai correspondents as a drug refinery."

  In this way, members of the team were able to witness the poultry and 
cattle farms, the rice mills, the rice warehouses and the shopping mall 
 . The Thai army showed the satellite photos and made wicked lies, saying 
that these facilities were drug refineries.

A handful of lackeys who are trying to intrude on Myanmar territory and 
interfere in Myanmar's affairs with words such as " international 
assessment and attitude " are launching fabrications, saying that modern 
farming businesses the Wa people are conducting to earn a peaceful and 
honest living and for regional progress as drug refineries. Such 
perpetrations will bring no good results to drug elimination tasks, but 
will only destroy the friendship between Myanmar and Thailand. The 
government is undertaking border areas development tasks with the basic 
aims of further consolidating the national unity, developing the economy 
of the national people and uplifting their living standards. So also, 
the national people are taking part in the government's endeavours with 
full confidence in the basic aims. I would like to make a warning that 
all the Myanmar national people are ready to decisively crush every 
aggression committed under the pretext of drugs.

At the News Briefing, the Wa people explained the objective conditions 
of the business enterprises, proving that they had not any connections 
with the drug business. What the Wa people also said," We do not believe 
any Thai journalists " is so shameful for any of the journalists 
concerned if they have the sense to understand the words. Presenting the 
internationsl observers at the News Briefing as the witness, I would 
like to say that I pity RFA, DVB and AFP who are trying to discredit the 
News Briefing. The News Briefing has proved the Myanmar people's 
including Wa ethnic people's efforts to combat narcotics with clear 
evidence. Thus, if some persons of the Thai army and the so-called 
journalists who are carrying out drug elimination in words, but linking 
themselves with opium insurgents to earn money, and the so-called AFP 
correspondent and the radio stations such as RFA and DVB have a sense of 
shame, they will not dare to show their face.

Author : Pauk Sa


Altsean: Poster and Booklet available for Women of Burma Day 2001--"What 
Women of Burma Want!"

To celebrate Women of Burma Day on June 19, Altsean-Burma is producing a 
 colour English-language poster titled "What Women of Burma Want!" and a 
 36-page report card on the situation of women of Burma. Groups and  
individuals may wish to display and distribute them at events being held 
to  honour the women of Burma.

We will be happy to courier sets of 30 posters and 30 booklets for the  
delivery cost. The costs are US30 to destinations in Southeast Asia, 
US40  for other parts of Asia, and US50 for North America, Europe and 
elsewhere.  Materials will be available on June 8 and delivery will take 
about 7 days.  Groups are encouraged to recoup the delivery costs by 
selling the items at  an appropriate price.

To lodge your order, please email us immediately with:

Your Name

Delivery Address

Contact tel or fax

Confirmation of the numbers of booklets and posters you need. 

Brief details of the event/s you are planning for Women of Burma Day. 

June 19 marks the birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate 
 and Burma's most famous woman. In 1997, Altsean-Burma appropriated Daw 
Aung  San Suu Kyi's birthday as a platform to honour ALL the women of 
Burma who  have been struggling against the military regime for peace, 
human rights  and democracy. All over the world, groups had already been 
celebrating Daw  Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday - it seemed fitting that 
this day be broadened  to also honour all the other women of Burma - 
women from different ethnic  nationalities, religions, communities and 

Women of Burma Day activities have ranged from parliamentary talks to  
public gatherings, or protests at Burmese embassies or public spaces. 
Many  women have also hosted small tea parties at home with friends. You 
can even  hold a solo celebration - wear a flower in your hair and 
explain to your  friends and colleagues that it is Women of Burma Day.

For the Women of Burma who continue to struggle despite all odds, with  
grace, perseverance and a sense of humour.

A L T S E A N - B U R M A
Alternative Asean Network on Burma
P O BOX 296, Lardprao
Bangkok 10310 THAILAND
Tel: 66 1 850 9008 * Fax: 66 2 939 0286


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