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Burma Net News #416

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 22-23, 1996 
Issue # 416

Noted in Passing:

	She has also inspired millions of people around the world who maintained
	the struggle to bring democracy and a respect for basic human rights to Burma."
	-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer

                 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING



CANBERRA, May 23 (Reuter) - Australia on Thursday honoured Burmese democracy
activist Aung San Suu Kyi, lauding her as an inspiration to the Burmese
people and a powerful symbol of their desire for change.
Governor-General Sir William Deane made Suu Kyi a Companion in the Order of
Australia, one of Australia's highest civilian honours.
The award was "in recognition of her outstanding leadership and great
personal courage in the struggle to bring democracy to Burma", Deane's
office said in a statement.
"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been an inspiration to the people of Burma and a
powerful symbol of their desire for reconciliation and reform.
"She has also inspired millions of people around the world who maintained
the struggle to bring democracy and a respect for basic human rights to Burma."
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told reporters the government wanted to
show its support for Suu Kyi.
"Aung San Suu Kyi is a woman who not only has the confidence of the
overwhelming majority of the people of Burma, but has shown extraordinary
courage...quite extraordinary courage in extremely difficult situations," he
"She's somebody that we deeply admire and we don't want to betray our faith
in Aung San Suu Kyi at a very difficult time.
"It's a very nice and symbolic way that we can demonstrate our support for a
courageous and decent woman."
Suu Kyi appears headed for a showdown with Burma's ruling military junta,
after the authorities made sweeping detentions to prevent a planned congress
of her party, analysts said on Wednesday.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won more than 80 percent of
the seats in Burma's 1990 election, but the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) refused to acknowledge the result.
Opposition sources told Reuters at least 92 NLD activists had been detained
in the run-up to a three-day congress of the party due to start on Sunday,
the sixth anniversary of the 1990 election.
Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, was placed under house
arrest for six years from 1989.
She was one of several foreigners honoured in the awards announced on Thursday.
Among the others was Singapore cameraman Willie Phua Tin Tua, who was
honoured for his services to journalism.
Phua has been a cameraman for state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp for
almost 30 years.
"Over that period he has made a significant contribution to teaching
Australians about our northern neighbours," Deane's office said, adding that
Phua often risked his life in the course of his work.
Phua was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996

May 22, 1996


                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                    Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                May 22, 1996


     We are deeply concerned by reports indicating that some 91
members of the democracy movement in Burma have been detained by
the authorities in Burma.  Those groups include members of the
National League for Democracy who were elected to parliament in
1990 but were not allowed to take their seats, as well as family
members of several representatives.

     We condemn efforts by the State Law and Order Restoration
Council to prevent the citizens of Burma from exercising their
basic political rights.  We have strongly protested these arrests
to the Burmese authorities and have warned that a continued
crackdown would lead to further deterioration in our already
strained relationship.

     We will continue our active diplomatic efforts, including
consultations with friends and allies in the international
community, on how to encourage the regime to respect the rights
of the people of Burma.


U.S. Department of State
96/05/22 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman

                U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                       I N D E X

                 Wednesday, May 22, 1996
                              Briefer:  Nicholas Burns


      Q     Burma?

       MR. BURNS:  Yes.  Would you like to hear about Burma?

       The situation is very grim in Rangoon.  Our Embassy in
Rangoon, headed by our Charge d'Affaires, Marilyn Meyers,
reports to us that 91 members of the National League for
Democracy have been detained; and of those 91, 87 were
elected in 1990, in the elections that were repudiated by
the military dictators in Burma.

       We deplore the arrests of these 91 people.  We deplore
the fact that they will not be able to meet this weekend at
the residence of Aung San Suu Kyi for a democratic meeting.
Yesterday in Rangoon, Marilyn Meyers, our Charge d'Affaires,
met with Burmese Government officials, and she called for
the immediate release of the 91 people who have been

       On May 21, here in Washington, our Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State, Kent Wiedemann, also telephoned the
Burmese Ambassador and made the identical protest.

       The Burmese Government has told us that the detainees
have not been imprisoned but instead are being held at
so-called "government guest houses" -- their term, not mine
-- for questioning.

       As we said yesterday, this is yet another in a long
series of outrageous and oppressive measures against
democrats, including a Nobel prize laureate in Rangoon.
Nothing can justify the detention of 91 people who simply
wanted to meet to talk about the activities of their group
and to petition the Burmese Government for rights that the
international community gives to every citizen.

       We will continue to urge the Burmese Government to
enter into a genuine dialogue with these people.  We'll
continue to urge the rest of Burma's neighbors in Asia and
countries around the world to repudiate the actions that
have been taken over the last couple of days.

       Q     Could you spell her name?  M-e-y or M-y?

       MR. BURNS:  Marilyn Meyers?  M-e-y-e-r-s.  She's the
American Charge d'Affaires in Rangoon.  We do not have an
Ambassador.  We do not have Ambassadorial level relations in
Rangoon because of the very poor state of our relationship
with Burma and with the military dictators who rule Burma.


       Q     Have you any plans to do anything beyond urging
them?  I mean, are there any other moves that are being

       MR. BURNS:  At this point we are talking to them
diplomatically.  We are hoping that other countries will
denounce these undemocratic actions, as the United States
has denounced them now for a couple of days running.
Obviously, we will consider any options at our disposal as
the situation proceeds.

       But, frankly, Chris, the United States is in a position
really of using, if you will, some moral suasion here.  It
has not worked in the past.  These military dictators seem
to be impervious to the will of the international community
and to the will of a heroic woman who is leading the
democratic movement in Burma.

       We have great respect for her, and I think she deserves
to have countries like the United States standing up for
her, and that's what we're doing.

       Q     What does the State Department think of the
potential legislation in Congress?  I think it's called the
Burma Trade Sanctions Act, which might try and stiffen U.S.

       MR. BURNS:  U.S. policy is already fairly stiff.  The
state of our relations is poor.  Our ability to interact
with Burma is quite limited because of the actions of the
Burmese Government in the past.  If there are ways where
that can be strengthened, I'm sure we'll be working with the
Congress on that -- but I don't want to say anything
categorical about that, Bill, until I've at least looked at
it more closely.

       Q     Kent Wiedemann was on the Hill today, testifying
in opposition to the bill, and I wondered how much -- to
what extent does the U.S. -- perceived U.S. interests in
working with the Burmese Government on counter-narcotics
efforts factor into your unwillingness to impose tough
sanctions on Burma?

       MR. BURNS:  Kent Wiedemann is on the Hill this morning.
 He's testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, and
it's on U.S. policy towards Burma.  Since he hadn't finished
that by the time I came out, I just don't want to make any
categorical statements, pending a discussion on what he said
and what positions he took.

       Carol, your specific question is that somehow we are
limited in action because --

       Q     Because you've got competing interests, which is
to say some people in the government believe that there's a
value in trying to work with the military rulers there in
order to halt narcotics trafficking.  I just wondered how
much of this was a factor?  As repression increased in
Burma, how much is this counter-narcotics cooperation -- if
you can call it that -- a factor in your decisions on
whether or not tougher action, including sanctions, might be

       MR. BURNS:  If we wanted to tighten the sanctions and
tighten the vice -- at least the U.S. part of a vice on
Burma -- of course, there would be a variety of factors that
you'd have to consider before you made that decision, and
I'm sure that narcotics would be one.  But I wouldn't say
it's an overwhelming factor.

       You know that we have worked with the Burmese
Government, because there's a major source of drugs that
flow to the United States, and it has until recently
harbored a major drug lord -- Khun Sa.  But I think that
we've also had our difficulties with the Burmese Government,
great difficulties, in working with them on
counter-narcotics cooperation.  So I wouldn't say that
somehow there's a marriage of convenience here that prevents
us from taking stronger action.

       Frankly, I don't see other countries around the world
acting and saying things that are stronger than what we've
been saying over the last couple of days -- and
fundamentally what we hope to see in Burma is the emergence
of democracy and a democratic movement like the one that
exists.  We do not like to see, and certainly oppose very
strongly, the detention of anyone who is a democrat, and
there are democrats in Burma.

       Q     Have you talked to the Chinese or the Thai in the
last 36 hours or so to see if they can help you out in
isolating their ally?

       MR. BURNS:  I can't give you a detailed report on which
countries we've spoken to and which we haven't, but I know
that we have -- regularly and this week -- have talked to
other governments.  If I answer one or two, I just don't
know who else we've talked to.

       Q     What sort of role do you think the Chinese --
what sort of role would you like the Chinese to play in this
strategy of further isolation?

       MR. BURNS:  We certainly would like Burma's neighbors
to act consistent with our belief that there should be an
international protest against the infringement of democratic
rights, and countries have to decide for themselves what it
is that they can do to make that apparent in Burma.

       Q     I know China is a great supporter of human
rights.  Do you think that's feasible to expect from them?

       MR. BURNS:  I think it's certainly feasible from many
of the Southeast Asian countries.  I don't know if China
would take that action or not.



By Deborah Charles
RANGOON, May 23 (Reuter) - Burma's military rulers on Thursday defended the
detention of scores of democracy activists and threatened possible further
As followers of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi prepared to commemorate
the country's last free election, the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) brushed aside expressions of world concern and said it had
acted to safeguard national unity and preserve its rule.
"Further actions which are likely to be taken depend on what they (the
opposition) do and their activities," SLORC spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel
Thein Tun told reporters.
Opposition sources told Reuters at least 92 activists had been detained in
the run-up to a three-day congress of Suu Kyi's National League for
Democracy (NLD), due to start on Sunday.
About 300 NLD representatives were due to gather at Suu Kyi's home -- where
the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate was held under house arrest from 1989 until
last July.
All state-run newspapers carried an official commentary on Thursday
headlined: "Protected again in the nick of time".
"They (the NLD) are about to challenge and shatter the stability and peace
of the State in a few days with their preparations to create uproarious
opposition under the pretext of observing the anniversary of the election,"
it said.
It labelled Suu Kyi and her top advisers as "irrational, egoistic and power
crazy" and said they aimed to topple the SLORC.
The NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990 that was never acknowledged
by the SLORC.
The United States, Japan, Britain and Australia have expressed concern at
the crackdown in Burma, which had been widely regarded as making hesitant
progress towards democracy and a free market system.
In Washington, a senior administration official said President Bill Clinton
was considering calling for a worldwide tourist boycott of Burma.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Seiroku Kajiyama, said on Thursday his
country hoped Rangoon would do its utmost to bring about democracy. Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Wednesday said the detentions ran "counter to
But Japan, Burma's biggest donor, said it would continue to give economic aid.
SLORC officials said they did not know exactly how many NLD activists had
been detained but stressed they had only been taken in for questioning.
Opposition sources said they did not know where they were being held or what
they might be charged with.
The SLORC assumed power in 1988 after suppressing a pro-democracy uprising
in which thousands were killed or jailed.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996



Showdown over NLD meeting

May 22, 1996

RANGOON - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said that Burma's 
ruling military junta had arrested 44 of her key supporters to 
prevent  the most important opposition meeting since her release 
from house attest last year.

Suu Kyi said that the three-day meeting of her NLD would, 
however, proceed on Sunday at her home in Rangoon despite 
increasing government pressure to derail it.

A diplomat speaking from the Burmese capital said Suu Kyi and the 
military were now on a collision course: "It's fairly clear that 
both sides are heading for a showdown on Sunday."

"So far, 44 NLD elected representatives and two wives have been 
arrested," Suu Kyi said.

Arrests around the country started late on Monday, Suu Kyi added.

The wives, from the southern province of Bassein, were arrested 
when authorities didn't find their husbands at home.

"This won't effect plans to hold the conference," Suu Kyi said. 
"Everyone is clam...I expect the people of Rangoon will behave 
very sensibly. They know how we will want them to act. Every 
person knows how to do their duty."

She said more arrests of her party members were likely and she 
did not rule out the authorities taking action against her and 
other NLD leaders.

"Anything is possible in an authoritarian state," she said.

Amnesty International, the London based human rights 
organisation, issued a statement expressing fear that those 
detained may face torture and ill treatment in custody.

It said they may have been arrested "solely for exercising their 
rights to freedom of expression and association."

Sixth anniversary of democracy of democracy elections in 1990, 
when Suu Kyi's movement won an overwhelming majority of 
parliamentary seats.

Slorc never allowed Parliament to convene, and the meeting is 
seen as a challenge to the junta's legitimacy.

The meeting was to bring together those won seats and who had not 
yet been killed, arrested or driven into exile.

"I think it's because they know we have the support of the people 
and they're not confident in their own position," Suu Kyi said. 
"If they were confident in their own position a meeting of two or 
three hundred people would not worry them."

She said more arrests of her party members were likely and she 
did not rule out the authorities taking acting against and other 
NLD leaders. "Anything is possible in an authoritarian state," 
she added. 

Gen Mg Aye, army commander and deputy chairman of the military 
junta, warned in remarks published yesterday in state-run 
newspaper that the government would "annihilate" anyone who 
disturbs Burma's peace and tranquillity. (TN)



May 23, 1996

There is an ongoing anti-opposition crackdown in Burma and over 
80 NLD politicians have been arrested around the country. 
Opposition officials say more arrests are being conducted by the 
hour as Slorc tries to stop the first meeting of elected NLD 
representatives in years, which is scheduled to take place during 
the sixth anniversary of the 1990 general election that falls on 

The will of the Burmese people was obviously expressed in 1990 
wherein the NLD won a landslide victory. The Slorc, however, 
disregarded the result. To prevent the transfer of power to the 
duly-elected government it convened a so-called National 
Convention to frame a state constitution based on principles 
guaranteeing the perpetuation of military dictatorship in Burma.

Sunday's meeting will see more than 400 NLD representatives 
gathered in Rangoon - the biggest gathering since they were 
elected and the most provocative opposition act since Aung San 
Suu Kyi was released 10 months ago from house arrest.

Speaking to Radio Australia's Bangkok correspondent from Suu 
Kyi's Rangoon compound, her chief spokesman U Win Htein, before 
he was arrested yesterday, confirmed that at least 87 NLD 
representatives and two wives of members had detain or placed 
under house arrest. Others are now under constant surveillance. 
Win Htein said no one had been charged, but added that it was the 
biggest crackdown in years and was aimed at preventing delegates 
from attending the meeting.

The will of the NLD has certainly not been broken and the 
crackdown, in fact, has given them further resolve to carry on 
fighting for justice, human rights and democracy.

"We've told everyone who have still not been arrested to come to 
Rangoon for the meeting. The arrests just show that the junta is 
not confident enough to let a few hundred people hold a meeting. 
It just indicates that they (the Slorc) are so nervous," Win 
Htein said.

The NLD meeting, it seems, is supposed to include for the first 
time, as observers, leaders of Burma's powerful ethnic groups who 
also aim to forge future political plans as the country's elected 
representatives. That, in fact, is a slap on the face to Slorc, 
which want to enshrine itself as a perpetual political power 
through the manipulated new constitution.

Sunday's NLD meeting is an intolerable state of affairs for the 
junta and in the past few days the Slorc generals have railed 
against the pro-democracy opposition leaders, calling them 
"snake" and accusing them of "threatening political stability" - 
ridiculous language often used to justify a crackdown.

Strong international pressure is now needed to break the current 
political stalemate in Burma. The Slorc must be forced to enter 
into a dialogue with Suu Kyi's NLD in order to chart the 
country's future for the will of the Burmese people in 1990 has 
been completely disregarded. In reality, those elected during the 
May 1990 election are the official representatives of Burma, who 
have the legal rights to form a People's Assembly.

Let us not forget that there is a UN General Assembly resolution 
calling for the restoration of democracy in Burma in line with 
the will of the people as expressed in the May 1990 election, and 
for the respect of human rights there. The international 
community is now bound by this commitment and must take firm 
steps to ensure that the military junta recognises the results of 
the 1990 election.

Also, they must call for the unconditional release of all those 
who had been arrested in the past few days because, as Amnesty 
International has clearly stated, those NLD members detained may 
face torture and ill-treatment in custody.

The United States has already lodged strong protests to the 
military junta, expressing strong concern over the fate of the 
pro-democracy activists. Other countries too should follow 
Washington's example because the Slorc butchers should be 
condemned for their actions.

The Slorc has reneged on promises made to the international 
community and the arrests of the NLD members has set things 
backward in the country.

Asean, being the immediate neighbour of Burma, must realise this. 
Unless and until the Slorc releases all those arrested over the 
past few days, as well as all political prisoners, Asean has no 
business coddling these monsters in army uniforms. For Burma to 
be welcomed into the regional grouping now is a blow to all 
freedom-loving people in Southeast Asia. (TN)



May 23, 1996

THAILAND is concerned about the ongoing arrests and detention of 
nearly 100 members of Burma's opposition party, a senior Thai 
government official said yesterday.

"We are concerned with the arrests, which we consider to be 
counter-productive to the democratisation and national 
reconciliation process in Burma," said Foreign Ministry spokesman 
Surapong Jayanama.

He said the arrests, which began on Monday, of members of the NLD 
travelling to Rangoon to attend a party congress were not in line 
with Asean's Burmese policy of "constructive engagement."

The policy was adopted and implemented by the Association of 
Southeast Asian Nations as a means to promote national 
reconciliation and democracy in which the public could 
participate, he said.

Burmese opposition parties and Western countries have repeatedly 
urged Asean to abandon the policy, accusing the regional grouping 
of pursuing it as an excuse to exploit Burma's nature resources.

While arguing that Thailand has the sovereign right to express 
its concern over the arrests by the Slorc, Surapong defended his 
comments by saying that it should not be viewed as an 
interference in Burma's domestic affairs.

"As you know, (Thailand) would like to see Burma achieve 
democracy where the public can participate openly in the 
government and all the country's minority groups," he said.

The spokesman said Thailand was not in a position "to dictate" to 
the Slorc about what it should do, "but if you asked me if we 
agree with their (Slorc) actions, I will not hesitate to say we 

Moreover, he said the arrests do not help resolve the country's 
main problems because the disputes in Burma are inherently 
complex. (TN)



May 23, 1996

The Nation, Agencies

RANGOON - Burma's ruling military regime ignored international 
outcry yesterday and stepped up its arrests of democratic 
opposition leaders, bringing to at least 90 people now detained 
in a crackdown designed to scuttle the opposition party's 
congress beginning on Sunday, opposition members said.

As the number of fresh arrests continue to rise, Japan yesterday 
threatened to reconsider its plan to resume loans to Burma. "It 
is difficult to consider yen loans under the situation," a senior 
foreign ministry official was quoted by the Japan Broadcasting 
Corps (NHK) as saying.

In Tokyo, visiting Burmese Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw yesterday 
said reporters of the arrests of members and elected MPs of the 
National League for Democracy (NLD) in his country were a 

"The news reports are fake," he was quoted as telling Yoshihiko 
Tsuchiya, the governor of Saitama prefecture during a meeting. 
Ohn Gyaw told Tsuchiya it was difficult to prove the reports, 
blaming the media for being critical of the military government.

But opposition spokesman Aye Win, a cousin of pro-democracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said that among those arrested was Win 
Htein, the personal assistant and spokesman for Suu Kyi. Aye Win 
affirmed that Suu Kyi, NLD leader and winner of the 1991 Nobel 
Peace Prize, had not yet been arrested and "was fine" and that 
all 10 members of the NLD central committee were still in their 

However, he added, "I think the number of arrests will increase."

Reuter quoted another source close to Suu Kyi as saying 
yesterday, "The number has gone up to 90, the additional ones are 
also from Rangoon." The source also said the figure could be 
higher as news of the detentions across the country slowly 
trickled in.

Suu Kyi yesterday carried out business "as usual" at her home, 
listening to a doctor read a paper on public health during a 
discussion attended by some 300 supporters, said a senior 
opposition sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The roundup is aimed at preventing the most important opposition 
meeting since Suu Kyi was released from six years of house arrest 
last July. Aye Win said the three-day congress would still go 
ahead starting on Sunday at Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon. The 
streets outside Suu Kyi's house was quite yesterday, but 
plainclothes security officers openly snapped pictures of 
reporters going into her lakeside residence. The state-controlled 
media carried no word of the arrests and government officials 
declined to comment, but many Burmese heard about them through 
foreign radio.

"We're not supposed to say anything about such a story. Why don't 
you approach the NLD," senior information ministry official Major 
Hla Tun said.

An article in the regime's newspaper New Light of Myanmar accused 
Suu Kyi of "running the livelihood of the people" by urging 
foreigners to boycott Burma to force political changes.

The NLD gathering will be the first full conference of Suu Kyi's 
party since parliamentary elections in May 1990 and coincides 
with the sixth anniversary of the poll, in which her supporters 
won 392 of 485 seats. The junta, known as the State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (Slorc), never allowed parliament to convene.

The meeting was bring together those pro-democracy candidates not 
already killed, jailed or driven into exile and was seen as a 
symbolic attack on the legitimacy of the government. If the 
gathering is allowed to proceed, it is unclear how many people 
will be able to attend. Since her release last July, Suu Kyi has 
tried to continue struggling against Slorc, but the authorities 
have allowed her little room to manoeuvre. The government has 
given no reason for the current spate of arrests and it is 
unclear where the detainees are being held.

Diplomats in Rangoon said the stage was set for a fresh 
confrontation between Suu Kyi and the military government but 
added it was unclear how far Slorc will go with its crackdown 
against the NLD.

"She's not the sort of person to back down," one diplomat said of 
Suu Kyi, who led the 1988 uprising against the army.

In Washington, the exiled Burmese government has strongly urged 
the US to impose sanctions against Slorc and refuse entry into 
the US to the Burmese rulers and their family in protest of the 

Testifying yesterday morning before the US Senate, Sein Win, 
prime minister of the exiled National Coalition Government of the 
Union of Burma, urged American senators to pass the Burma Freedom 
and Democracy Act of 1995 (S.1511) into public law. (TN)



May 23, 1996


TOKYO - Japan yesterday expressed concern over Burma's arrests of 
democracy activists and urged dialogue between the country's 
military rulers and pro-democracy camp, while the US called for 
the country's isolation.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said the arrest of sources of 
members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League 
for Democracy (NLD) "run counter to democratisation".

"I am closely following developments," he said at his official 

Government spokesman Seiroku Kajiyama told a regular news 
conference that Tokyo 'strongly hopes that the Myanmar government 
will strive for democratisation while holding dialogue with 
officials from the NLD', as well as that both sides would break 
an impasse "through dialogue".

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said on Tuesday that 
the US administration was deeply concerned by reports of the 
arrests and had made "the strongest possible representations" to 
the military rulers in Rangoon.

He also called on Burma's neighbours, including Thailand, to 
isolate the ruling Burmese regime known as the Slorc.

"The US is very concerned by the reports today that the Slorc has 
arrested more than 40..... democracy activists," State Department 
spokesman Nicholas Burns said. "If the this is true, and there's 
every reason to think it is true, this is yet another in a series 
of oppressive actions by the military regime to prevent Aung San 
Suu Kyi and her supporters from exercising their basic political 

Burns described the actions of the Slorc as ominous, adding, 
"we've made the strongest possible representations to the Burmese 
authorities in Rangoon, and also here in Washington.

"We have consistently urged the Burmese government to enter into 
a genuine dialogue about the political future of Burma with Suu 
Kyi and the leaders of the ethnic minorities.

"We believe that this is the key to political reconciliation in 
Burma," he said, describing Suu Kyi as a "heroic woman".

Numerous governments have criticised Burma's human rights abuses 
and its refusal to cede power to the NLD.

Burns called for Southeast Asian countries "to isolate" Burma and 
"to take solid action to try to influence the military figures 
who run the government".

"We think pressure should be placed on the Burmese government by 
its neighbours to isolate Burma," he said.

In Rangoon, NLD spokesman Aye Win said yesterday that the Slorc 
has so far detained 80 people - 78 successful candidates and the 
wives of two others who were absent when authorities swooped - 
and we expect the number to climb".

"All will be detained so that they can't attend the conference," 
he said.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the detentions, 
but an article in Burma's state-run press yesterday said the 
planned NLD meeting was illegal and the tenure of NLD candidates 
elected in 1990 had already expired.

Suu Kyi said late on Tuesday the conference of NLD candidates who 
won seats in the May 1990 general elections would go ahead 
despite the detentions.

Human Rights Watch/Asia has strongly condemned both the arrests 
and warnings by the Slorc that anyone taking part in the NLD 
conference should be "annihilated".

The tone of junta's denunciations of NLD members and the number 
of people arrested "suggests that it has decided to pull out all 
stops against the opposition", the New York-based human rights 
group said.

Burn admitted that US leverage with Burma was low in view of the 
already poor relations between the two countries.

But, he said :Sooner or later the military authorities there have 
to wonder about their links beyond the borders of Burma - their 
political links, their economic links.

"They have to wonder about the ability of this country to 
participate in the life of Asia, much less the life of the 
world." (TN)



Tokyo, May 23 (Jiji Press)-Japan is not planning to review its economic
assistance scheme for Myanmar despite the arrest of prodemocracy activists
by the military regime there, Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama said
If the economic assistance is halted, it will give damage to the people of
Myanmar since the aid is basically for civilians of that country, Kajiyama
said at a press conference.
The government does not plan to review the scheme, he said, indicating that
Japan will continue to provide grant assistance for the time being.
Japan will ask the military regime through diplomatic channels to handle the
situation with forbearance, he said.
Myanmar's military junta has arrested a large number of supporters of the
National League for Democracy, the nation's largest opposition group, ahead
of the party's upcoming three-day general meeting. 



Source: Radio Australia external service, Melbourne, in English 0900 gmt 22
May 96
Excerpt from report by Radio Australia
An official Burmese newspaper says a planned meeting of the opposition
National League for Democracy [NLD] on Sunday [26th May] will be both
illegal and dangerous. An article in the Burmese-language edition of the
`New Light of Myanmar' newspaper - but not the English edition - said that
if the NLD members decided to meet it would not only be illegal and
meaningless but also extremely dangerous for them.
The paper urged NLD members not to become scapegoats for what it called Mrs
Michael Aris - the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose husband is a
British academic. The article said Mrs Aris was completely influenced by
Western groups and was using the NLD for her own ends.
The opposition says more than 80 of its members have been arrested so far in
the biggest government crackdown in years...
(c) BBC Monitoring Summary of World Broadcasts. 



The country's military regime displayed its strength and confidence when it
released the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 10 months ago; but when it
now detains scores of her associates, it reveals weakness and fear.
The generals are clearly nervous that the National League for Democracy's
meeting this Sunday will draw attention to the illegitimacy of their rule.
The biggest party meeting since Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house
arrest - and which she insists will go ahead - takes place on the sixth
anniversary of an overwhelming election victory by the league that the Army
refused to honour.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council, as the junta styles itself, has
recently appeared to be winning a long campaign to gain control of the
countryside and win international acceptance.
It has negotiated cease-fires with over a dozen rebel groups and has
persuaded many governments - especially in Asia - to deal with it. Even an
economy shattered by the Army's previous mismanagement appeared to making a
partial recovery with the help of foreign investors.
Yet Ms Aung San Suu Kyi has proven to be an awkward and widely
underestimated opponent.
The Army's efforts to isolate her in her family home on University Avenue
has failed to contain her charismatic and persuasive personality.
With the limited freedom the Army must give her - for the benefit of
international consumption - she has been able to remind the world that an
alternative and more popular leadership of the country is available.
By doing so, has succeeded in sowing doubt in the minds of many outsiders
who might otherwise engage with the regime.
This current attempt by the junta effectively to break the league runs the
risk of severely damaging the image it has tried to foster of an imperfect,
but practical administration with the will and power to get the country back
on its feet.
That the generals were willing to run this risk shows how much they fear Ms
Aung San Suu Kyi's popularity and in that fear they reveal how fragile their
hold on power really is.
The Army's hopes that the legitimacy of the league's claims to power would
fade with time and the growth of the economy have been unfulfilled.
More critical attention is now likely to be paid to the regime's claims to
have lifted the economy off its knees, rather than "lining the pockets of
the rich, and hurting the poor" as Ms Aung San Suu Kyi has claimed.
"Don't underestimate what's happening, for the junta has shown how
potentially unstable it is," said a former Western ambassador to Burma.
For all their guns, their control of the Burmese media, their monitoring of
all aspects of daily life, the generals are still scared to let a modest
number of their opponents gather in a dilapidated house on the shore of Inya



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