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

Wired News on November 11, 1996

Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Wired News on November 11, 1996

11/11:  Britain condemns attacks on Suu Kyi in Burma

      LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuter) - Britain on Monday condemned an attack on
Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's motorcade and said the military
government had to take responsibility. 

    The Nobel Peace prize laureate, who was unhurt when stones were thrown at
her motorcade on Saturday afternoon, has said the attack was government

    The government has said it is investigating the incident. 

    But a British foreign office spokesman said on Monday: ``We condemn the
attacks on Aung Sang Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for
Democracy in Rangoon on 9 November. 

    ``The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) must take
responsibility for this blatant and crude attempt to intimidate democratic
politicians. It is a deplorable step backwards. 

    ``We call on the SLORC to guarantee the safety and freedom of all those
conducting democratic political activities. We again urge them to respond
constructively to calls for dialogue and to prevent further deterioration of
the situation in Burma.'' 

    The United States has already expressed outrage over the attack, and
demanded government action to punish the culprits and ensure the Nobel
laureate's safety. 

    Japan, considered by Burma to be an ally and a potentially improtant
source of financial support, on Monday voiced regret over the incident. 

    Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party said on
Sunday it would not be provoked by Saturday's attack, the first of its kind
against her. 

    Burma's military rulers have come under regular international criticism
over their human rights policy. 

    Suu Kyi and SLORC have been engaged in a standoff over her demand for
greater democracy in Burma since her release in July, 1995, from six years of
house arrest. 

    The SLORC has detained and then released hundreds of her NLD party
supporters and members at various times to pressure her. 

10:21 11-11-96

U.S. Senator urges Burma to talk with Suu Kyi

      RANGOON, Nov 11 (Reuter) - A U.S. senator said on Monday during a visit
to Rangoon he had urged Burma's military government to hold talks with Nobel
Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and set a deadline for the writing of a new

    John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, said he met Lieutenant
General Khin Nyunt, head of military intelligence and Secretary One of the
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), during a one-day
visit to the country. 

    ``In our meetings we...expressed the American people's belief that
dialogue between Burmese authorities, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD
(National League for Democracy), was indispensable to progress toward
national reconciliation, and should begin now,'' McCain said in a statement
upon leaving Rangoon. 

    He did not say what the response was from the government. 

    McCain's statement repeated comments made earlier by U.S. Charge
d'Affairs Kent Wiedemann, and said the United States was deeply concerned
about a weekend attack on Suu Kyi and had asked for government assurance that
the incident would not be repeated. 

    McCain said he also urged the government to set a timetable to complete
drafting a new constitution, and to hold a ``free and fair'' national

    A National Convention of hand-picked delegates has been meeting
intermittently since 1993, at the whim of the SLORC, to draft guidelines for
the constitution. 

    The government has said the convention will reconvene this year, but did
not give a date for when the charter would be finished. 

    Suu Kyi angered the SLORC last year when she pulled the NLD out of the
convention, saying the process was not democratic and did not represent the
will of the people. 

    The United States has been a leader among Western nations in its
condemnation of the SLORC's suppression of democracy in Burma and its refusal
to hold talks with Suu Kyi. 

    Washington slapped a travel ban prohibiting senior SLORC officials and
their families from visiting the United States. Burma immediately authorised
a reciprocal ban. 

    A senior military official said McCain was allowed to travel to Rangoon
and meet top officials because the SLORC felt his visit could be helpful to
bilateral relations. 

    ``We believe whoever comes in with an open mind can help us work for a
better relationship,'' the official told Reuters. 

23:52 11-10-96

Burma gas project on schedule - Total 

      By Rajan Moses 

    KANBAUK, Burma, Nov 11 (Reuter) - France's Total SA said on Monday that
its controversial $1 billion project to pump gas overland to Thailand from
its Burmese offshore Yadana field was on track and would meet the July, 1998

    ``Everything is going on as scheduled and we have no doubt about meeting
the deadline. We believe we can complete all works by July 1998 when
production will commence,'' said Herve Madeo, general manager of Total
Myanmar Exploration and Production. 

    He told a group of foreign correspondent visiting Total's facilities at
Kanbauk in southern Burma that so far about 60 percent of the total project
cost had already been utilised. 

    The project to extract and pipe gas from the Yadana field in the Andaman
Sea off southern Burma has been dogged by controversy ever since it was
signed with Burma's national oil company Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise
(MOGE) in 1992. 

    Total holds a 31.24 percent share in the project to produce gas for 30
years and pipe it through a 409 km off and onshore pipeline to Thailand. 

    The other partners are Unocal Corp <UCL.N> with 28.26 percent, the
Petroleum Authority of Thailand's exploration arm, the PTTEP, with 25.5
percent and MOGE with 15 percent. 

    The Yadana gas field is estimated to contain over five trillion cubic
feet of gas. Total said the field was expected to produce 650 MMcf (million
cubic feet) of gas per day of which 525 Mmcf would be piped to Thailand and
another 125 MMcf for domestic Burmese use. 

    Human rights groups have accused Total of colloborating with Burma's
ruling military-dominated State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to
suppress freedom by signing the contract with MOGE. 

    They have also accused the firm of damaging the environment and forests
in southern Burma, where the pipeline will run, and being involved in a
project and in area where the SLORC was forcing people to work or relocating
them against their will. 

    Total has denied the accusations and said its involvement has been a
purely business proposition. 

    Total's Madeo said the platform to drill the gas in waters 45 metres deep
was being built in an Indonesian yard and would be ready by April 1997. The
laying of 346 kms of offshore pipeline from the platform to the Burmese
mainland would start in mid-1997 and finish by end-1997. 

    Another 63 kms of onshore pipeline through thick jungle and rough terrain
via the southern Tenassarim district to the Thai border would be laid from
this month and end sometime next year, he added. 

    On the Thai preparations to meet the pipeline at the Burmese border,
Madeo said:''At the last meeting they informed us that they are on

    Under an agreement, if Thailand does not take delivery for any reason it
still has to pay for the contracted gas. 

    When the project comes on stream in mid-1988, revenues will amount to
about $400 million annually of which 50 percent would go to the Burmese

    But Madeo said capital and other expenses will be have to be deducted
until 2001-2002. 

10:29 11-11-96