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burmanet news August 26
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: August 26, 1995
THE NATION: ARCO TAKES RISKY STEP INTO BURMA
THE NATION: STEP FOR GAS IN NEIGHBOUR STATES
THE NATION: BURMA VISIT TO HELP CONSTRUCTION RESUME ON BRIDGE
BKK POST: KAREN DEFECTORS BACK WITH MAIN REBEL ARMY
BKK POST: 30 KHUN SA MEN KILLED IN FIGHT WITH GOVT TROOPS
BKK POST: ASEAN ACCORD ON BATTLE PLAN IN WAR ON DRUGS
BKK POST: US SENATORS IN BREAKFAST MEET WITH SUU KYI
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===== item =====
ARCO TAKES RISKY STEP INTO BURMA
US OIL GIANT ATTACKED OVER GAS DEAL WITH CAPITAL-HUNGRY SLORC
26 August 1995, THE NATION
CALIFORNIA-based oil giant Atlantic Richfield (Arco) became the
third US oil company to enter Burma with the signing of a gas
exploration contact with the ruling Burmese junta on July 26,
including a US$6 million payment to Myanmar Oil and Gas
The signing took place on July 26, about two weeks after the
junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on July
10 after nearly six years of house arrest.
Arco is the third US oil company after Unocal and Texaco to
strike a multimillion-dollar business agreement with the Slorc.
David Wolfberg of the Burmese Forum, which is a part of the
network of the Seattle Campaign for a Free Burma, has criticized
the contract saying that the move only weakens democratic forces
in negotiating national reconciliation with the Slorc.
The Slorc are showing how eager they are to get more foreign
money flowing in. Companies that rush into Burma only weaken the
hand of the democratic forces in negotiations for national
reconciliation. Arco's timing is regrettable, he said.
In a statement released by the Seattle Campaign for a Free Burma,
the group said Arco is likely to face shareholder pressure and
consumer boycotts over its Burma deal.
Another US oil giant, Unocal, which formed a multilateral joint
venture with the Slorc, Frances Total and Thailand's PTT
Exploration and Production in tapping natulral gas from Burma's
Gulf of Martaban, had earlier faced similar questioning by its
shareholders who also tired without success to pass a resolution
banning these activities.
The statement repeated Suu Kyi's statement urging foreign companies
not to rush into Burma and question if their investments benefit
the Burmese people or merely strengthen the Slorc.
A number of US companies have withdrawn from Burma including
Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Levi Strauss and Amoco.
In a separate press release, the Seattle Campaign said the capital
of the State of Wisonsin has joined the move to make Burma the
South Africa of the 1990s by passing a tough new resolution
deterring business contacts with companies operating in Burma.
The Madison City Council passed the measure on Aug 16 after two
months of deliberations. The last time we did anything like this
was when Madison passed a resolution targeting the apartheid,
regime in South Africa. It's good that Madison has not lost the
ability to do that, said Council member Brent Sieling.
On Feb 28, the Californian city of Berkeley took the lead in
passing the first selective contracting law banning companies
operating in Burma. It is the first US ban of its kind prohibiting
the purchase of goods and services from firms doing business with
the Slorc, which has been widely condemned for its poor human
Since then, other US cities including Seattle, Chicago, Cambridge
in Massachusetts, and Santa Monica have passed resolutions calling
for sanctions at federal level.
The legislation passed by those US cities immediately affected the
production, distribution and sales of many American companies doing
business in Burma.
The three largest US companies in Burma- Pepsi, Texaco and Unocal
were immediately affected by the resolutions which required the
cities to ban purchase of their products.
A selective contracting law recently passed in the Massachusetts
House of Representatives has moved on to the State Senate for
consideration. Similar laws are proceeding in Oakland, San
Francisco and New York as well as Toronto and Ottawa in Canada.
Exiled Burmese political dissidents and US human rights groups on
Burma have been lobbing US cities across the country to introduce
and pass a similar resolution. They also supported the move by US
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell who introduced a comprehensive
economic sanctions bill against the Slorc on July 28.
He had earlier delayed the bill, initially scheduled to be
introduced on July 11 after Suu Kyi was released, to see if there
were signs of progress on democratization, human rights and
narcotic suppression in Burma. (TN)
STEP FOR GAS IN NEIGHBOUR STATES
26 August 1995, THE NATION
UNOCAL (Thailand) Co Ltd has urged the Industry Ministry to lead
negotiations with Thailand's neighbours over cross border gas
In a meeting with Industry Minister Chaiwat Sinsuwong yesterday,
Brian Marcotte, executive chairman of Unocal (Thailand), said the
ministry should arrange negotiations with Burma, Laos, Cambodia and
Malaysia, Thailand's neighbours believed to have large reserves of
Chaiwat has positively responded to the large gas explorer's
proposal by saying that the ministry has considered talking with
neighbours and has reached an agreement with Malaysia over the
exploration under the Joint Development Area (JDA) programme.
Unocal, a subsidary of Union Oil Co of California, is a major
natural gas supplier in Thailand, with a daily supply of 700
million cubic feet (mcf) or about 20 per cent of the total demand.
It has recently stepped into Burma through a joint venture with PTT
and Texaco to develop a gas field.
The company expects to supply a billion cubic feet a day to PTT in
the year 1999 and as a consequence needs to find more gas fields.
In Thailand, Unocal's major gas fields are in the Gulf of Thailand.
Apart from the fields it has operated, the company is developing
four more fields in the gulf including at Pailin.
The company as well as its partners in the Pailin gas field- Mitsui
Group, Moeco and PTT - have conducted a feasibility study with the
major concentration on pricing.
Marcotte said that the Pailin field has high potential but it has
considerable carbon monoxide. A carbon monoxide separation plant is
required and the question is will be the investor, said Marcotte.
The field is expected to produce 165 mcf a day in 1998 and 250 mcf
three years thereafter. (TN)
BURMA VISIT TO HELP CONSTRUCTION RESUME ON BRIDGE
26 August 1995, THE NATION
DEFENCE Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's visit to Burma next week
will help construction of the border bridge across the Moei River
resume, Assistant Army Chief of Staff Gen Chettha Thanajaro said
Construction was suspended in May over a territorial dispute.
Chettha said he was confident that Gen Chavalit's talks with the
Burmese junta's leaders will result in the resumption of work.
The issue will be raised in context of the border demarcation
process, he said. Chavalit is expected to being a two-day visit
Burmese authorities claim that land reclamation by Thai villagers
along the river bank in Tak's Mae Sot district has changed the flow
of the river on the Burmese side.
The frontier has not been properly delineated along that section of
the Moei River. Under an interim agreement the bank on each side is
Chettha said there should be a joint investigation into the Burmese
He said the main objective of Chavalit's visit is to restore
personal ties with Burmese military leaders as a first step towards
resolving existing problems in bilateral ties.
Chavalit, who will likely be accompanied by two key Army
intelligence officers, is also expected to renew the previous
government's invitation to the Burma's number-two man, Gen Khin
Nyunt, to visit Thailand later this year or early in 1996.
Chettha said the thorniest issue is the greediness of the Thai
This issue affected national security, he said.
Suspension of bridge construction followed a wave of disputes along
the border which began earlier this year when Rangoon accused Thai
authorities of aiding Burmese armed ethnic insurgents.
The reported murders recently of Burmese crewmen on Thai trawlers
following Rangoon's termination of a fishing licence issued to
Narong Canning, a tensions. Burmese authorities subsequently
ordered the closure of the border crossing opposite the Thai
province of Ranong. The Tachilek crossing opposite Mae Sot has also
Chavalit said yesterday a Thai trawler captain who was allegedly
responsible for the deaths of the Burmese fishermen will be taken
into custody within the next couple of days.
The minister is expected to request the reopening of the closed
Chavalit yesterday met the Burmese Ambassador to Thailand, U Tint
Winn, to discuss his trip. (TN)
KAREN DEFECTORS BACK WITH MAIN REBEL ARMY
26 August 1995, Bangkok Post
EVEN Buddhist Karens yesterday rejoined the Karen National Union
from which they had defected to help Rangoon forces crush the
rebels headquarters at Manerplaw opposite Tak's Tha Song Yang
District last year.
The eleven who recently defected from the Democratic Karen Buddhist
Army (DKBA) handed a rifle, a flag and some documents to the KNU's
7th Brigade commander Col Johny.
All the defectors were reportedly from the Buddhist Karens'
headquarters in Myaing Gyi Ngu village about 50 kilometres west of
Tha Song Yang.
The village accommodates over 7,000 families under the supervision
of Pha U Sujana, a monk who is the top leader of the Democratic
Karen Buddhist Organisation (DKBO), according to Saw Mya Win, 29,
a defector who joined the DKBO in December last year.
The Burmese government does not give special care to the people in
the camp, said the Karen defector.
Most villagers suffered water and food shortages because the new
settlement was located very far from the border, he said.
Saw Mya Win said he decided to defect to the KNU because he did not
want to live in danger since the Burmese forces appeared to
Col Johny said many DKBA troops wanted to return to the KNU but
were blocked by Burmese troops. Some were reluctant to leave
because the Burmese army had spread rumours that the KNU would kill
All Buddhist Karens and their soldiers are welcome, said Col Johny.
He also denied the KNU had ever killed those who defected to join
Following the DKBA's defection from the KNU last year, the Buddhist
Karens have been staging cross-border operations in continued
attempts to attack Karen refugee camps and abduct KNU leaders who
had taken refugee on Thai border, and herd Karen refugees back into
Around 300-400 armed DKBA men are expected to be deployed along the
Burmese side of the Salween River from the area opposite Ban Mae
Sam Laeb. Thousands of others are stationed in the area opposite
Tha Song Yang.
Thai Army Commander-in Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich had suggested
that all Karen refugees now scattered in five district of Tak be
housed at one centre deeper inside Thailand.
A border source said fighting between Burmese troops and Karen
minority forces along the Thai-Burmese border was expected to
A Karen officer expected more DKBA defectors to seek refuge in
30 KHUN SA MEN KILLED IN FIGHT WITH GOVT TROOPS
26 August 1995, Bangkok Post
AT least 30 guerrillas from the army of Burma's opium warlord Khun
Sa have been killed in clashes as government troops advance into
his heartland in Shan State, rebel sources said yesterday.
Burmese forces supported by fighters from Khun Sa's main
opium-trade rivals from the Wa ethnic minority have captured a
string of rebel outposts in sporadic fighting over the past two
weeks, the sources said.
Casualties on the government side were not known.
Wa leader rejected an appeal from Khun Sa for them not to support
Burmese government troops in attacking him, the sources said.
The Wa regional commander told us a few days ago that they have
agreed with the Burmese to capture our positions within two weeks,
an official in Khun Sa's rebel organisation army said. He also
warned us to withdraw from our positions to minimise the loss of
life, the official said.
Burma's military government has vowed to crush Khun Sa and his
The Wa fighters, who were previously the rank and file of the
Communist Party of Burma's armed wing, are Khun Sa's traditional
The force signed a ceasefire with Burma's military government in
1989 and has since increased production of opium and its refined
from, heroin, from the Wa zone in northern Shan State, Thai
narcotics suppression officials say.
Khun Sa suffered a serious setback earlier this year when several
thousand of this troops, led by young Shan nationalists, broke away
from his organisation saying Khun Sa was neglecting their political
ASEAN ACCORD ON BATTLE PLAN IN WAR ON DRUGS
26 August 1995, THE NATION
THE seven members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(Asean) have agreed on concerted action in their battle against the
spread of drug abuse, Thailand's leading drug fighter said
Gen Chavalit Yodmanee, chief of Thailand's Office of Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB), said Asean members had agreed to cooperate on
four broad fronts in the war on drugs.
Chavalit, speaking at the end of a weeklong meeting of drug
suppression officials from the Asean members, said they have agreed
on a three-year action plan covering prevention, treatment, law
enforcement and general research into the drug scourge.
Asean groups Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Malaysia has agreed to take the lead in training staff in the field
of prevention and community education about the dangers of drugs
while Brunei will train personnel in the field of mutual legal
assistance, Chavalit said.
Brunei will also focus on training staff in investigating the
financial aspects of the drugs trade while Thailand will promote
Asean-wide cooperation in intelligence gathering, he said.
Despite harsh anti-drug laws in several Asean countries drug abuse
is widespread in the region.
Chavalit, who chaired this week's talks, said in addition to heroin
abuse, the region was also seeing a worrying surge in the use of
Representatives from Burma, the world's main source of heroin, and
Interpol also attended the meeting. (TN)
US SENATORS IN BREAKFAST MEET WITH SUU KYI
26 August 1995, Bangkok Post
TWO US senators held a breakfast meeting with Burmese dissident
Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday, a day after holding talks with leading
members of Burma's ruling junta, diplomatic sources said.
Details of Suu Kyi's meeting with the two senators, Republicans
Arlen Specter and Hank Brown, were not immediately available.
The meeting followed talks between the senators and the junta's
powerful first secretary, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, which was reported in
the local press without details.
Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw was also present at the talks with Khin
Nyunt, the reports said.
Specter and Brown arrived here Thusday on the third leg of a tour
that has also taken them to Taiwan and Cambodia. They were due to
leave for India later yesterday after touring the ancient city of
The visit followed a similar trip by Congressman Bob Livingston,
chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee,
who arrived here Monday at the head of a delegation of US
businessmen including a senior official of the US oil giant Texaco.
Livingston's visit was described by the US Embassy here as
unofficial, although the congressman was also received by junta
officials and cabinet members including deputy defence chief
General Maung Aye.
The party's calls on senior Slorc officials, including Khin Nyunt,
were reported on front pages of the official newspapers, but
details of the meetings were not made public.
Meanwhile Suu Kyi on Thusday turned down an invitation to attend a
meeting of PEN, an international writers' organisation, in Japan
during October. She said she will videotape a message to be
delivered to the group.
Mrs Suu Kyi has repeatedly said since her release from house arrest
that she will not leave Burma. She said her work in Rangoon does
not permit travel, and she also believes the Burmese government
would not let her back into the country. (BP & TN)