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Burma Net News May 31,1996 #428



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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
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The BurmaNet News: May 31,1996
Issue # 428

	Noted in Passing: 
	Asean should set condition on Burma for joining the organization,
	if Asean is the should not allow the dictatorship state to participate."
	-Mr Sulak 
(See AMUNAY URGED TO LIFT ENGAGEMENT ABOVE SELF-INTEREST)

HEADLINES:
==========
THE NATION: VITRIOLIC SLORC SLAMS SUU KYI AND THE WEST
THE NATION: BURMA RESHUFFLES CABINET
THE NATION: CRACKDOWN 'WILL DAMAGE BURMA'S IMAGE'
THE NATION: SILENCE IN THE HILLS
THE NATION: NLD BACK AS POLITICAL FORCE
BKK POST: AMUNAY URGED TO LIFT ENGAGEMENT ABOVE SELF-INTEREST
BKK POST: CAMPAIGN STEPPED UP AGAINST DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT
STRAITS TIMES : MYANMAR SLAMS INTERFERENCE IN INTERNAL AFFAIRS 
WALL STREET JOURNAL : THREE BURMESE DAYS
THE ASIAN AGE : SUU KYI REJECTS COMPROMISE WITH MILITARY
DAVID PITTS : BURMESE DEMOCRATIC LEADER TO RECEIVE 
NDI DEMOCRACY AWARD
-----------------------------------------------------------

THE NATION: VITRIOLIC SLORC SLAMS SUU KYI AND THE WEST
May 31,1996
AP

The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council stepped up its 
campaign yesterday against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 
denouncing her in the state-run press as a "stooge" of foreign 
powers.

The English-language daily The New Light of Myanmar accused Suu 
Kyi, who this past weekend defiantly hosted a major opposition 
meeting, of "ignoring the national well-being and dancing to the 
tune of the colonialists."

Suu Kyi challenged the ruling military regime by going ahead with 
the congress, which the authorities tried to prevent by arresting 
262 of her supporters, and vowing to hold several more. Only 18 
official delegates eluded arrest and attended, along with scores 
of other sympathisers.

The meeting was to reunite those opposition candidates not already 
killed, tortured or driven into exile, who won 392 of 485 seats in 
parliamentary elections in May 1990. The Slorc never recognised 
the result and the opposition meeting called on them to do so now.

One newspaper article yesterday referred to Suu Kyi as "the 
daughter-in-law of the white face," and described her as a 
"popular public figure very useful in the scheme to indirectly 
enslave the country". Racism and xenophobia are familiar themes in 
the propaganda circulated by the military both in the official 
press and in anonymous leaflets.

They contain constant reminders that Suu Kyi, the daughter of 
Burmese independence hero Gen Aung San, is married to a British 
academic, Michael Aris. The implication is that her loyalties lie 
with England, which was the country's colonial master until 1948. 
The United Kingdom is now the biggest foreign investor in the 
country.

The military regime, which took power in 1988 after violently 
suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations, is enthusiastically 
wooing foreign investors.

Most major deals so far involve tourism and the extradition of 
natural resources, such as oil and gas. The newspaper also took to 
task the Western media, saying that radio stations such as the 
Voice of America and the BBC "have of late been continuously 
broadcasting fabricated news and articles, taking the Myanmar 
[Burma] people to be snooty children and nincompoops". Myanmar is 
the official name given the country by the junta.

Burmese depend heavily on the foreign media for uncensored news. 
The BBC on Monday night broadcast a live discussion with Suu Kyi 
on its Burmese language service, but her phone line was cut _ 
presumably by the authorities _ during the programme. A separate 
article entitled "Let's Tell the Truth", said Western nations were 
trying to interfere in Burma's affairs by using "newspapers, 
journals, magazines, radios, TVs, satellite communication systems, 
fax, Internet and etc, and employing all types of foreign 
correspondents and congressmen and UN representatives and 
ambassadors of either sex."

The article in The New Light of Myanmar repeated a call the 
newspaper made last week for the government to stop Suu Kyi's 
weekend speeches, which are a regular affair. In what was clearly 
meant as a threat, the author cited two specific ordinances under 
which the gatherings could be declared illegal. (TN)

**********************

THE NATION: BURMA RESHUFFLES CABINET
May 31,1996
Agencies

Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council announced a 
minor cabinet reshuffle switching four ministerial posts, state-
run media reported.

Three deputy ministers were named full-fledged ministers, and 
three full ministers were appointed to the Security and 
Administrative Committee. Deputy Trade Minister Aung Thaung was 
appointed minister for Heavy Industries Saw Tun became minister 
for health, and Deputy Construction Minister Aung San is the new 
minister for culture.

Former livestock and fisheries minister Brig Gen Maung Maung has 
been transferred to the deputy prime minister's office. He was 
also appointed secretary of the Investment Commission.

Former health minister Vice Adm Than Nyunt, former minister for 
culture Brig Gen Thaung Myint, and former labour minister Lt-Gen 
Aye Thaung became members of the Security and Administrative 
Committee, retaining their ministerial ranks. All are over 60.

Maj Gen Saw Lwin, minister in the Slorc chairman's office, takes 
over the labour portfolio. The change was announced over state 
radio and television late on Wednesday and published in government 
newspapers yesterday. (TN)

*******************

THE NATION: CRACKDOWN 'WILL DAMAGE BURMA'S IMAGE'
May 31,1996
Robert Birsel, Reuter

The Burmese government's crackdown on the democracy movement has 
hurt its efforts to lure foreign investment and given ammunition 
to opponents of the regime, businessmen and democracy activists 
said yesterday.

The military regime last week rounded up more than 250 members of 
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) in an 
unsuccessful attempt to block a  party congress.

The arrest have been condemned by several Western and Asian 
governments and have thrown the international spotlight back on to 
Burma.

"It's certainly damaged the [investment] sentiment," George 
Morgan, of HG Asia's Bangkok office said. HG Asia is organising 
and investment fund for Indochina and Burma.

"I was in the US last week talking to institutional investors and 
quite a few people raised concerns about Burma," Morgan said.

Several Bangkok-based businessmen involved in Burma declined 
comment on investing there in the light of last week's arrests. 
Last month, US soft drink giant PepsiCo Inc sold its stake in its 
Burma venture in the face of a growing boycott across US campuses.

Several US apparel firms have said they will not renew contracts 
with Burmese suppliers because of rights abuses and the 
suppression of the democracy movement there, the US-based Free 
Burma coalition said.

These include Oshkosh B'Gosh Inc, Liz Clairborne, Eddie Bauer, 
Levi Strauss and Macy's. The group said garment exports from Burma  
to the United States have dropped by two thirds in recent years 
because of the US campaign to isolate the ruling military 
government.

"There's definitely a backlash [against Burma]," Morgan said. 
"There are very few bad guys left. South Africa is gone. China is 
not so interesting. Burma is the current focus."

A pro-democracy activist said the crackdown by the ruling State 
Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) would provide more 
ammunition for those seeking to stop foreign companies from 
investing in Burma.

"What the military regime is doing indicates that they are very 
worried, and that suggests foreign investments right now are not 
so secure," said the activist, who asked not to be named.

"I would expect it to have some serious effects. I expect it will 
help build up the campaign," he said. Both Morgan and the 
campaigner said the crackdown was more likely to make those 
thinking of investing in Burma hesitate, rather than to make those 
already there pull out. "The people on the ground actually 
investing don't see much change," Morgan said. (TN)

****************

THE NATION: SILENCE IN THE HILLS
May 31,1996
Rangoon's oldest, foes, the ethnic resistance armies, were 
conspicuously quiet last week, Aung Zaw writes.

While the West and two Asean countries, the Philippines and 
Thailand, have been vocal in expressing their concern over the 
Slorc's recent crackdown on the National League for Democracy 
(NLD) movement, Burma's ethnic minorities, several of whom have 
forged ceasefire agreements with the Slorc in recent years, have 
remained quiet, although it is believed that many of them support 
the NLD.

"We have always supported Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," said a senior 
Kachin leader who requested anonymity, although "we don't want to 
jeopardise our relationship with the Slorc."

The Kachin Independent Organisation (KIO) reached a ceasefire 
agreement with the Slorc in 1994. "We are monitoring the political 
developments in Burma. We support the mass democracy movement," 
the Kachin leader insisted.

He added, however, the since the ceasefire with the Slorc was 
signed, there has been no substantial dialogue with the ruling 
junta. Some sources suggested the relationship between the Slorc 
and Kachin rebels has deteriorated. And it is a wellknown fact 
that the current commander of the Northern command, Maj. Gen Saw 
Lwin, and Kachin leaders are at odds.

Moreover, some dissidents referred to a recent incident wherein 
the junta ordered the immediate dismantling of the Kachin's 
ceremonial Manau posts (totem poles), which were erected on 
private land during a centennial celebration. It was said that Gen 
Maung Aye, vice chairman of the Slorc, and his aides ordered the 
removal of the Manau posts before he was to pass though the area 
on his way to Maymyo, further straining the relationship between 
the Kachins and the Slorc.

Karenni leader Abel Tweed said his Karenni National Progressive 
Party (KNPP) supports the democracy movement, adding that his 
troops had recently clashed with Slorc soldiers in Kayah state. 
"They recently forced people in three villages to relocate," Tweed 
noted.

The senior Karenni leader expressed admiration for Suu Kyi's non 
violent struggle, but believes the Slorc is concerned only with 
those who passes guns. "The Slorc only talks to those who have 
guns".

He pointed to drug kingpin Khun Sa, who surrendered to the junta 
in January, and who Slorc officials have said might be pardoned 
despite the fact he has been engaged in drug trafficking for 
decades.

Other ethnic minorities opposed to the Slorc, like the Karen and 
Kachin, Mons, have remained silent on the recent events in 
Rangoon.

The relationship between the ethnic groups and the Slorc has 
become strained recently due to the unexpected meeting between Suu 
Kyi and ethnic leaders in Rangoon a few weeks ago. Suu Kyi held 
the meeting with the leaders of six ethnic groups at a monastery 
despite Slorc-imposed restrictions. Among those who participated 
in the meeting were leaders of the Wa, Kachin Democratic Army 
(former 4th Brigade) and Karenni National Progressive Liberation 
Army.

Slorc officials, according to sources in Rangoon, were furious 
when they learned about the meeting. Opposition officials played 
it down. "It was just an informal meeting," said one NLD member, 
who refused to elaborate.

Just before the crackdown on the NLD, ethnic minorities and other 
opposition groups held a week-long conference at the border. They 
pledged to support the democratic movement, while the Democratic 
Alliance of Burma (DAB) agreed not to support or recognise the 
drafting of a new constitution by the Slorc-organised National 
Convention.

In a statement, the DAB said it has decided to abandon its armed 
struggled against the Slorc and is calling for political dialogue 
with the junta as a means of resolving the political turmoil in 
the country. (TN)

******************

THE NATION: NLD BACK AS POLITICAL FORCE

May 31, 1996

The party of Aung San Suu Kyi appears to have to have rattled the 
ruling junta but it is unlikely to lead to any drastic changes 
unless the international community renews pressure on Rangoon. 
Aung Zaw reports.

Htun Lwin came to University Avenue four hours before the show was 
to begin. But this was no pop concert or football and "the lady" 
as she is known throughout Burma was about to give her regular 
weekend speech.

Almost 10,000 people turned up to show support for the NLD, which 
held its most daring political meeting last week since it won a 
landslide victory in the 1990 elections. Normally, Suu Kyi draws 
no more than two three thousand listeners to her weekend speeches. 
But since the military junta began a nation-wide crackdown last 
week, many more have converged on University Avenue to show their 
support.

The Saturday gathering clearly underlines the strong support Suu 
Kyi still commands. "Nobody forced the people to come," said an 
NLD member. "They came voluntarily and gave moral support." He 
added that many military intelligence officers and informers were 
there but people did not worry too much about them.

The crowd was disciplined and attentive.

"This is great -people obviously support Suu Kyi and her party," 
said one journalist, who witnessed the gathering.

Suu Kyi opened the conference Sunday despite a nation-wide 
crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. Well-known writers, 
academics and local businessmen showed up for the conference but 
only 18 NLD delegates and members escaped the military government
's pre-rally sweep and made it to the conference.

Because of the crackdown, the NLD's original plans were cancelled. 
Suu Kyi said: "This is no longer a meeting of elected 
representatives of the NLD. We have decided, therefore, this will 
be the first in a series of NLD congress."

This alone implies that more trouble is in store for the Slorc, 
especially since participants at the conference decided to draft a 
rival constitution. The move mocks the junta's National 
Convention, which the Slorc had organised to draft a constitution 
that would legitimise its grip on powe. But the NC has been 
convened and cancelled repeatedly over the past three years.

The Slorc has been trying to ensure a leading role for the 
military in politics. In its constitution, Suu Kyi is barred from 
joining politics on the grounds that she has lived abroad and is 
married to a British citizen. 

But Slorc officials this week hinted that some NLD delegates might 
not be  released if the NLD holds more congress in the future.

Last week's crackdown was obviously meant to prevent the NLD from 
pushing through with the conference. But many ask why the Slorc 
overreacted if it did not consider the conference important.

Before the conference, a senior military intelligence officer said 
the regime had feared that the NLD had a plan to establish a 
paralleled government. "What if they form the government?" he 
asked.

Analysts recalled the Gandhi Hall conference held on June 29, 1990 
shortly after the general elections in May.

The junta, analysts said, did not want a repetition of the event 
during which the NLD delegates publicly called on them to hold 
power to elected representatives. A former NLD member who attended 
the Gandhi Hall conference recalled what the happened. "At that 
time they (military leaders) were so nervous - we heard Lt Gen 
Khin Nyunt could not been sleep as he was afraid we were going to 
form a parallel government."

While the initial conference has ended, it is not known yet 
whether the junta will free all the detained delegates. Suu Kyi 
expressed concern Monday that the junta will not release some NLD 
delegates and one of her aids, Win Htein, who is believed t have 
been imprisoned. Analysts estimated that approximately 258 party 
members and supporters were arrested.

Suu Kyi said some of her representatives had been charged under a 
section of the Emergency Provision PowerAct. Several sources said 
nine NLD members from the Irrawaddy Delta were charged and sent to 
the notorious Insein Prison.

Rangoon residents also reported that besides the NLD delegates, 
several students and youths were
also rounded up and their parents have yet to be informed of their 
whereabouts.

According to some unconfirmed reports, about 100 students and 
youths were arrested.

Among them are Ye Kyaw Zwar, a sophomore engineering a student at 
Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT), and Kyaw Kyaw Htay, a 
freshman English major. Ye Kyaw  Swar was detained in 1990 for 
political activism and only released in 1993.

According to some sources, on Friday, two days before the 
conference was to begin, two young monks were arrested for holding 
pro-democracy placards at a bus stop near the Sule Pagoda in the 
centre of Rangoon.

"Many of the NLD MPs and other detainess including the monks have 
already been transferred to Insein Jail," said an NLD source. 
Eyewitnesses could not identify the detainess because their faces 
were covered by blankets.

Before the crackdown, a dozen activists and students were thrown 
into jail in April, said a well-placed source in Rangoon. The 
students, said the source, were planning to stage a peaceful 
gathering to show their support towards the NLD-organised 
conference.

It was reported that a few months ago students in Rangoon, 
Mandalay, Sagaing division and in Taungoo district were seen 
distributing leaflets, newsletters, and other documents against 
the regime.

On March 13, students planned to march from Rangoon University to 
Suu Kyi's house, but troops blocked University to Suu Kyi's house, 
but troops blocked University Avenue and nobody was allowed to 
pass through the area. Even before this, the Slorc had begun 
making the necessary preparation. A students leader, Min Ze Ya, 
was sent back to Kamawat in Mon state. Authorities threatened him 
with arrest if he refused to go back.

"They may be looking for a spark to make them move," said one 
source. But Suu Kyi has encouraged  students and activists not to 
take to the a streets.

It is known that students and opposition leaders have long been 
arguing over whether or not take drastic action.

One NLD member said: "We are looking in the long term. It does not 
mean just going out and saying "We hate Slorc." He recalled that 
thousands were murdered on the streets in 1988. "What did they 
get? The junta won't hesitate to use force."

In any case, the recent NLD conference did not disturb the Slorc 
leadership, analysts said. Although the Slorc accused Suu Kyi of 
rocking the boat, officials in Rangoon said they were not bothered 
by it. "They are in firm control," said one dissident.

It was business as usual for Burma's powerful leaders this week as 
they busied themselves with routine inspections and visit. In 
Rangoon, not far from Suu Kyi's house, the Myanmar - Open for 
Business" conference was being staged and foreign businessman and 
government ministers attended as if there was nothing else 
happening in the country.

Myanmar TV has also shown Lt Gen Khin Nyunt inspecting 
dormitories. But professors at Rangoon University said that chief 
of the secret police's real purpose in making the visit was to 
make sure everything was under control.

Khin Nyunt visited the Medical School where he met students and 
lectured them on "the only superpower country in the world," 
referring to the US. He also accused Suu Kyi and her followers of 
being puppets for the US government, which he accused of wanting 
to colonise Burma.

"There is a group of person in Burma who have been enticed by a 
big nation that is attempting to bring Burma under its influence 
on the pretext of democracy and human rights," Khin Nyunt charged.

The US is the most vocal critic of Burma and will be sending its 
special envoy soon to Europe and Asia to sound out their views on 
taking concerted action against the Rangoon government. But the 
junta has not been affected by international condemnation of its 
actions and continued its intimidation of those wanting to 
participate in the NLD-organised conference.

To counter the NLD conference, the junta organised what it called 
an "anti-destructionists rallies" in some area. Students, teacher 
and villagers are believed to have been brought by the truckload 
by Slorc. But unlike the crowed at University Avenue, their faces 
lacked expression and they were more like status, marching like 
zombies and hardly smiling.

At the end of their rally, they chanted slogans and dispersed 
quickly. Slorc claimed that about 100,000 people attended the 
government rallies. But Suu Kyi dismissed the rallies as "awash 
with hatred and vindictiveness."

According to a well-placed source in Rangoon, Slorc suddenly 
ordered local officials to stage rallies. "Students workers and 
nurses were forced to come. In Sagaing division, local Slorc 
officials were ordered to provide at least one person from each 
house hold.

Analysts in Rangoon said unlike the situation in 1988, the junta 
has shown a reluctance to use force, especially as it continues to 
attract more foreign businessmen and tourists.

But the recent crackdown has already backfired against the junta. 
The wave of arrests invited fresh international criticism and 
prompted Washington to send its special envoy to its allies.

A Bangkok-based Western diplomats said, "Enough is enough - there 
is no need to say Slorc is bad. The question is what can be done?"

Suu Kyi has reiterated her call for a meaningful dialogue between 
the pro-democracy movement and the ruling junta. But the Slorc has 
been sending mixed signals.

"Dialogue and meaningful change are still impossible unless the 
junta's neighbouring countries nudge Rangoon to change its ways. 
Asean and Japan are unlikely to do anything drastic," one analyst 
said. Nevertheless, Manila and Bangkok express concern and urged a 
political dialogue. In a rebuff for Rangoon they also sent 
representatives to the first day of the NLD conference.

"Japan is pretending to be angry or upset because of Washington. 
But actually, they don't know what to do and they don't really 
understand the situation," said one observer in  Tokyo.

The strife will no doubt continue in Burma. The recent episode in 
Burma has proven again that empty talk, constructive engagement 
and tough threats do not work.

Aung Zaw is a freelance writer. He contributed this article to The 
Nation.

*************************

BKK POST: AMUNAY URGED TO LIFT ENGAGEMENT ABOVE SELF-INTEREST

May 31, 1996

ACADEMICS urged newly-appointed Foreign Minister Amnuay Viravan to 
elevate Thailand's constructive engagement policy on Burma above 
mere economic interests.

They also called on Thailand and the Philippines to take the lead 
in convincing other Asean members to follow suit.

The issue was discussed at a seminar called "democratic 
Development in Burma after the arrests of NLD representatives."

Social critics Sulak Sivaraksa said Mr Amunay should use the 
opportunity of his new appointment to change Thailand's policy on 
Burma.

"Mr Amunay is a good person with good intentions. I am looking 
forward to seeing him talking with Prime Minister Banharn and the 
Palang Dhama Party, which claims to have  virtue and morality, to 
change the foreign policy (towards Burma)."

Mr Sulak praised the Government for deciding to send a Rangoon-
based diplomat to observer the conference of the NLD earlier this 
week.

"It is a good sign for the Government and it shows Thailand's 
bravery," he added.

The Philippines was the only other Asean member to joining 
Thailand in calling for national reconciliation in Burma during 
escalating tensions this week.

"Asean should set condition on Burma for joining the organization,
" Mr Sulak said. "If Asean is the should not allow the 
dictatorship state to participate."

Bur adviser to the Chart Pattana Party Kraisak Choonhavan said it 
was unlikely said it was unlikely Thailand would make any changes 
to its policy given the fact Bangkok does not discourage labour 
exploration.

"Thailand is enjoying cheap labour from more than 400,000 Burmese 
workers and I expected they will rise to be more than 600,000. 
(BP)

*******************
BKK POST: CAMPAIGN STEPPED UP AGAINST DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT

May 31, 1996

Rangoon, Reuters

THE military government stepped up its campaign against foreign 
interference in the country and staged another mass rally to 
denounce Aung San Suu Kyi's democracy movement.

A crowed of about 77,000 people gathered in Hmawbi Township  north 
of Rangoon to listen to speeches attacking the revitalised 
democracy movement, an informational Ministry sources said.

The government organised rallies were similar to others held over 
the past few days where hundreds of thousands of people have 
gathered to chant slogans, were flags and denounce democracy 
activists and unwanted foreign influence in Burma.

Diplomats and others observers say the rallies are staged, with 
the military forcing people to attend.

State-run television shows the rallies at length on news 
programmes, with thousands of people sitting in orderly rows 
listening to several speakers making nearly identical speeches.

Mr Suu Kyi earlier denounced the rallies as "a comical farce..

She said it was widely known that people were forced to attend, 
adding the people of Burma backed her democracy movement and 
wanted an end to military dictatorship.

The government has also stepped up verbal and written attacks on 
foreign interference in Burma.

It ran slogans in newspapers and scrolling headlines on television 
denouncing foreign interference, including "crush all internal  
and external destructive elements as the common enemy" and :oppose 
those relying on external elements, acting as stooges, holding 
negative views. (BP)
******************************************

MYANMAR SLAMS INTERFERENCE IN INTERNAL AFFAIRS 

May 31, 1996 
Straits Times 5/31
YANGON -- Myanmar's military rulers yesterday stepped up denunciations of
foreign interference in the country and continued verbal and written attacks
on the democracy movement led by Ms Aung San Suu Kyi while she has ruled out
any compromise with the military junta. 

The government ran slogans in newspapers and as scrolling headlines on
television, including "Oppose foreign nations interfering in internal affairs of
the state", "Crush all internal and external destructive elements as the
common enemy" and "Oppose those relying on external elements, acting as
stooges, holding negative views". 

On Wednesday, two government-sponsored rallies with crowds estimated by
the media at 100,000 chanted slogans condemning pro-democracy activists
and what it called the influence of foreigners on them. 

The rallies have occurred all week since Ms Aung San Suu Kyi defied
government intimidation and numerous arrests to hold a meeting of leaders of
her National League for Democracy (NLD) on Sunday. 

The military regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc),
assumed power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy uprising that left
thousands dead or in jail. 

A commentary carried in all official newspapers renewed an attack on the
Voice Of America and British Broadcasting Corporation, both of which
broadcast daily Myanmar-language news programmes. 

Western nations, which have criticised the Slorcand condemned recent arrests
of more than 261 NLD members, were interfering in Myanmar for strategic
reasons, the commentary said. 

"Those neo-colonialists begrudge Myanmar its strategic position in Asia and
its rich natural resources and could not bear to see it so close to and friendly
and cooperative with a big country of the East -- one that will one day become
so strong as to vie with them and keep them in check." 

Myanmar has close relations with China, and buys a majority of its military
hardware from its northern neighbour. 

In an interview published in the Japanese daily, the Asahi Shimbun, yesterday
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi rejected the idea of finding a compromise to promote
democratisation. She said the idea of having a certain number of military
officers in any government, as proposed by a Myanmar national daily, was
"unacceptable". -- Reuter, AFP.
*****************************************

THREE BURMESE DAYS

Editorial
The following is from today's edition of Wall Street Journal
Thu, 30 May 1996 12:28:33 -0700
Throughout the world, foolishness and greed are sometimes draped with 
a veil of respectable-sounding phrases like "constructive engagement," 
based on the promise that by doing business in a country like Burma, 
you expect to change it. The problem is that once companies and 
governments climb into the boat with dictators, they are very reluctant to 
rock it lest all their deals go overboard. Some of the world's most courageous 
and freedom-loving people rocked the boat in Burma over the past weekend, 
when the long-repressed National League for Democracy and its leader 
Aung San Suu Kyi staged a party congress.

The importance of this event cannot be underestimated, for it comes at 
a time when most of Burma's neighbors are using the doctrine of 
noninterference as an excuse to obtain national resources at bargain 
basement prices, mistakenly assuming that Asean's signature see-no-evil 
approach can keep the State Law and Order Restoration Council in power forever.

Despite all the rhetoric about business engagement being a force 
for change, more often as not it becomes a enforcer for the status 
quo. As police were rounding up more than 250 elected democratic 
representatives from the aborted 1990 election, Atlantic Richfield 
president Roger Truitt was photographed in government
newspapers with the chief of Burma's secret police and with a member
of the ruling Slorc junta who, the AP reported, had threatened last
week to "annihilate" Suu Kyi. Some 80 foreign journalists were there
to read all about it. Yesterday, the junta staged its own rally; the
participants were ordered to attend and cheered when an announcer
said, "Please cheer."

Not everyone looked away from the democrats' gathering. Countries 
such as Britain, the U.S., France and Australia sent diplomats to the 
opening of the three-day democracy meeting Sunday, in a sort of 
protective display. Support also came from unexpected quarters. 
Thailand sent an official observer. More significant still, major aid 
donor Japan offered rare public criticism of the regime, warning Slorc 
that the crackdown on democrats was damaging business confidence 
in Burma. On Monday, South Korea added its voice to the chorus 
coming--at least initially--exclusively from democracies.

What this weekend's events proved is that "engagement" can work 
wonders, if the will to work them is there. If Slorc had had its usual way 
on Sunday, there would have been no peaceful democracy gathering of 
some 8,000 people--it would have been prevented or broken up like all 
others for the past six years, at whatever cost in lives. The fact that the
 meeting went forward is almost certainly due to countries like Japan 
telling Slorc to keep its hands off or else. Though Tokyo has been criticized 
in the past for seeming too eager to shower Rangoon with yen, in this 
case we should be glad Japan had aid to threaten to withdraw. What we 
all learned here is that "engagement" fails only when people, and nations, 
refuse to pull on the lever it provides.

By standing up and baring their chests before Slorc, Burmese democrats 
gambled with their lives that some outsiders would not look away. 
They were right, and they have at least won the first round.
*****************************************

Suu Kyi rules out compromise
May 30 1996, The Hindustan Times (New Delhi)

TOKYO, May 30 (AFP)
Myanmarese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected the
idea of joining hands with the military to find a compromise to
promote democratisation, a Japanese, a Japanese daily published today
said.

In an interview with Asahi Shimbum yesterday, Aung San Suu Kyi
said the idea of having a certain number of military officers in any
government, as proposed by a Burmese national daily, was
unacceptable.

The leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) told the
paper it was impossible to make such a compromise even if it was to
speed up the democratisation.
******************

SUU KYI REJECTS COMPROMISE WITH MILITARY

May 30 1996., The Asian Age (New Delhi)
Thanks to world community
Tokyo May 30: Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has
rejected the idea of joining hands with the military to find a
compromise to promote democratisation, a Japanese daily published on
Tuesday.

In an interview on Wednesday with the Asahi Shimbum, Ms Suu Kyi
said the idea of having certain number of military officers in any
government, as proposed by a Burmese national daily, was
'unacceptable' to her National League for Democracy. The leader of
the NLD told the paper it was 'impossible' to make such a
compromise. She further clarified that even if such a compromise held
the promise of a speedy transition to democracy in Burma, her party
would not accept an offer from the military. She said her group could
not trust military junta, which disregarded the 1990 elections results.
in these elections even though her party emerged as the party with the
largest majority she said she appreciate international interest in the
convention on May 26-28. (AFP)
******************************************

BURMESE DEMOCRATIC LEADER TO RECEIVE NDI DEMOCRACY AWARD

(Aung San Suu Kyi and Ambassador Mondale honored) (500)
By David Pitts
USIA Staff Writer
Washington -- Burmese Democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former
Vice President Walter Mondale, currently U.S. ambassador to Japan,
will be presented with the 10th annual W. Averell Harriman Democracy
Award at a luncheon to be held August 26.

The awards were announced May 29 at a news conference held by the
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), which
will present the awards in Chicago during the week of the Democratic
Convention being held there this year.

"Aung San Suu Kyi's courageous struggle to restore democracy to Burma
reflects the hopes and aspirations of the Burmese people and is an
inspiration to democrats around the world," said NDI chairman Paul
Kirk, Jr. "As senator, vice president, presidential candidate, and
ambassador, Walter Mondale's career has been marked by a deep and
abiding commitment to public service and democratic government," he
added.

The Democracy Award Luncheon will take place during NDI's
International Visitor's Forum, a week-long series of bipartisan
seminars on the U.S. political process for foreign leaders and
observers visiting the Democratic Convention.

Madeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will
present the award to Aung San Suu Kyi, according to an NDI spokesman.
She will not attend personally for fear she would not be allowed to
return to Burma. But she will address the audience by videotape, the
spokesman said.

According to NDI, despite winning 81 percent of the parliamentary
seats in the 1990 elections, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for
Democracy (NLD) was prevented from taking office by the ruling
military junta. "The recent arrests in Burma are a stark reminder of
the repressive climate there," said NDI president Kenneth Wollack, who
recently visited Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. "They also highlight the
urgent need to maintain support for human rights and democratic
change," he added.

During the Democratic Convention, which will take place August 26-29,
NDI will host more than 500 international guests who will be invited
to participate in seven seminars covering aspects of the U.S. system
of democracy, Wollack explained. "Heads of government, political party
and civic leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats from more than 100
nations are expected to participate," he noted.

About 40 of the foreign guests will be sponsored by the U.S.
Information Agency and they will be invited to join the other guests
for the NDI-sponsored seminars, Wollack said.

NDI was established in 1983 to promote and strengthen democratic
processes throughout the world. Programs focus on six major areas:
political party development, election processes, legislative reform,
local government, civil-military relations and civic education.

"Our mandate is not to sell an American model," said Wollack, "but to
share experiences." In Chicago, "we hope our foreign guests will be
able to observe the convention, seeing the American political process
upfront, its strengths and its weaknesses," he added.
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