[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

wired news on nov. 9, 1996

11/09:  ASEAN aide cites Burma progres, sidesteps politics

      RANGOON, Nov 9 (Reuter) - Burma, target of international protests over
human rights, is making strides towards becoming a member of the regional
bloc ASEAN on technical grounds, according to its Secretary-General Ajit
Singh on Saturday. 

    The director of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations sidestepped
political issues over the military government's suppression of democracy and
recent crackdowns on Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy

    Instead he reiterated ASEAN's traditional stance of non-interference in
other countries' internal affairs. 

    Singh, who spoke to reporters at the end of a week-long visit to assess
Burma's readiness to join ASEAN, said the leaders of the seven-nation group
were going to meet at the end of the month. 

    It was ``entirely up to them'' if they wanted to discuss Burma's
political situation. He was asked if he had noticed any change among ASEAN
leaders towards Burma's readiness to join the regional group. 

    ASEAN groups Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Vietnam. Laos and Cambodia are due to join next year. 

    Burma has been granted observer status to ASEAN and was hoping to become
a full member at the group's next formal meeting in July, despite
international protests that acceptance to ASEAN would be tantamount to
approval of a military government accused of human rights violations. 

    Singh's visit comes at a time of questioning among some ASEAN members
over Burma's bid to join the bloc following protests over the military
rulers' suppression of democracy. 

    ASEAN says it follows a policy of ``constructive engagement'' towards
Burma and does not interfere in politics in the hope of an eventual solution
from within. 

    But analysts say ASEAN members may use the excuse that Burma is not ready
economically to join the group, in order to postpone Rangoon's entry into the

    Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said recently he did not think
Burma was ready for membership on economic grounds. Singapore is one of the
biggest investors in Burma. 

    Thailand and the Philippines have also voiced concerns over Rangoon's
readiness to join ASEAN. 

    Singh said he was in Burma to assess the country's technical
preparedness, and said Rangoon was fairly advanced in its efforts to meet
standards required for membership to ASEAN. 

    ``As far as the readiness of Myanmar (Burma) is concerned, we were very
pleasantly surprised to find that Myanmar is fairly advanced in the
preparation to join the ASEAN,'' he said. 

    When asked if Burma was politically ready to become a full ASEAN member,
Singh said: ``We have various agreements that new members must subscribe to
and I have been told by the leadership that they have no problem in agreeing
to all these documents.'' 

    Leading Asian democrats gathered in Manila this week called for an arms
and economic embargo against Burma and urged the international business
community to freeze investments until a new government is in place in

    The democrats, led by former Philippine president Corazon Aquino and
South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-Jung, also urged ASEAN to withhold any
decision admitting BURMA. 

07:43 11-09-96

11/09:  Burma says fresh crude oil supplies arrive

      RANGOON, Nov 9 (Reuter) - Burma's official media reported on Saturday
that fresh crude oil and diesel supplies had arrived at Than Lyin refinery
port in the outskirts of Rangoon as rumours of a shortage pushed up black
market petrol prices. 

    Two vessels, NV Sanwa Maru carrying crude oil for refining locally
contracted from Marubeni Corp and NV Oilster carrying diesel from the
state-owned Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT), were unloading their
cargoes at the port on Friday, the media reported. 

    Deputy energy minister Tin Tun had visited the port to view the
unloading, the media said, without giving any further details on the quantity
or origin of the crude oil and diesel that had just arrived. 

    ``More imported crude oil and diesel will continue to arrive at the
refineries,'' the New Light of Myanmar said in a commentary without

    Black market petrol prices, which were steady since a sudden leap in
mid-September, jumped again this week despite moves by the ruling military
State Law and Order Restoration Council to keep them in check, residents had
said on Thursday. 

    Rumours had spread that the government was unable to find new crude oil
suppliers, but local analysts blamed the price increase on rising demand and
stiff government rationing. 

    Petrol in Rangoon was selling for about 320 kyats per gallon this week on
the black market, the main supply source for most private vehicles, compared
with an average of about 250 kyats per gallon in the previous weeks. 

    A senior energy ministry official had told Reuters on Thursday that crude
oil supply deals were being discussed with about five, mostly Japanese,
suppliers of low sulphur crude oil without pre-fixing of any terms and

    Official media had also reported this week that the ministry was
importing fuel from various unidentified sources on a grace period basis. 

00:09 11-09-96