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AUSTRALIA: STANDARD NEWS (2/12/95)
FED: GOVT AND OPPOSITION EXPRESS CONCERN ON BURMA
BURMA AUST (CANBERRA)
The Australian government and opposition have both expressed
concern about recent political developments in Burma.
This is despite the decision of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council to release Nobel Peace prize winner AUNG SAN
Foreign Minister GARETH EVANS says there's a mounting concern
about current political developments in Burma, or Myanmar, where
the council's refusal to enter into meaningful dialogue with AUNG
SAN SUU KYI since her release is causing increased tension.
He's told the Senate he's particularly concerned by reports that
special army guards have been placed outside the houses of several
National League for Democracy leaders.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman ALEXANDER DOWNER says it's
disappointing to see the SLORC continue to reject approaches by
AUNG SAN SUU KYI and the NLD for full involvement in the process of
drafting a new constitution.
AAP RTV msl/jg/bb/msk
ASIA: EVANS CALLS ON ASEAN TO PRESSURE SLORC
By Ron Corben through AAP
BANGKOK, Dec 1 AAP - Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans
has called on Asia's regional states to pressure Burma's military
to begin talks with the country's opposition, as political tensions
mount in Rangoon.
Senator Evans said the situation in Burma was "delicately
poised" and called on the Assocation of South-East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) to bring pressure on the Rangoon military to commence
Senator Evans, who was in Thailand attending a regional
economics forum before travelling to Malaysia, said the ASEAN
countries should "use the clout that they undoubtedly have - more
than most the rest of us, and the world - to encourage the (junta)
to go down the path of dialogue and reconciliation".
The junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), brutally crushed pro-democracy protests in 1988 soon after
coming to power, with hundreds gunned down by the military.
Senator Evans said many were "troubled by the evident
unwillingess of the SLORC to make any concessions at all".
"Equally, I think all of us are troubled that this may create
new kinds of tension, which turn out to be uncontainable and raise
again the spectre of a reaction of the kind that we saw in 1988,"
Senator Evans said unless dialogue between the SLORC and
opposition began Burma would "continue to be a potentially quite
serious source of instability" and remain "an ongoing source of
legitimate worry for the whole region".
"I would just like ASEAN countries to overtly recognise that and
continue to do what they have been willing to do last year or two -
and that is put some pressure on Burma to move the process
forward," he said.
The renewed pressure for talks followed a boycott this week by
Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy
(NLD), of a national convention drafting a new constitution.
The NLD, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is seeking to
pressure the junta into talks for democractic reform - so far
resisted by the current military in power since 1988.
In May 1990 general elections, the NLD won a landslide victory,
but the junta refused to recognise the outcome.
Concerns of an escalation in political tensions in Burma, in the
wake of the NLD's moves, came in comments from a senior member of
the junta, Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Tin Oo, who
threatened to "annihilate" those who seek to disrupt the state.
The ASEAN states include Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and recently Vietnam.
Government leaders from the seven ASEAN nations, with observer
status to Burma, Cambodia and Laos, are to meet in Bangkok later
this month for a regional summit meeting.
Senator Evans said he hoped the summit would not lead to the
ASEAN states rushing "to embrace Burma until such time that it
get's its internal house better in order".
Burma, along with Laos and Cambodia, is hoping to become a full
member of ASEAN within the next decade.
US: US CALLS ON BURMA TO ALLOW FREE SPEECH
US BURMA NIGHTLEAD
WASHINGTON, Dec 2 AP - The Clinton administration today called
on Burma's military leaders to permit free speech and to open a
dialogue with its opponents.
The White House commented after the pro-democracy party of Nobel
Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi was formally expelled on
Thursday from a government convention called to draw a new Burmese
constitution. The action came after the party called the meeting a
Pro-democracy delegates had already been boycotting the National
Convention because the agenda failed to include opening a dialogue
between the military and democratic forces. Suu Kyi has called the
White House press secretary Mike McCurry, in a statement issued
at the White House, said that under current circumstances, Burma's
constitutional convention "does not offer the opposition a
meaningful opportunity to participate in the crucial decisions that
will determine Burma's political future".
"We urge the State Law and Order Restoration Council to
recognise that public discussion in an environment free of
intimidation is critical to the healthy functioning of any
political system," McCurry said.
He urged Burma's leaders to open the dialogue sought by its
political opposition, saying that is the only road to national
"We further urge the authorities to avoid threats or other
measures against those who seek freely to express their views," he
The convention is meeting for the first time since the military
released Suu Kyi in July following six years of house arrest. She
was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize for peace for her efforts to win
democracy for Burma.