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Aung San Suu Kyi Shocked by German
- Subject: Aung San Suu Kyi Shocked by German
- From: bcn@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 08 Jan 1997 05:20:00
Subject: Aung San Suu Kyi Shocked by German business plans
(from: BCNN (Gijs Hillenius))
original: Pressemitteilung (pressrelease) Deutsche Welle English Service
contact at Deutsche Welle:
tel (+49)221 389 45 90/1/4
fax (+49)221 389 45 55
BURMESE DEMOCRACY LEADER AUNG SAN SUU KYI 'SHOCKED' BY GERMAN BUSINESS PLAN
FOR INVESTMENT OFFICE IN RANGOON
Suu Kyi in an interview with DW-radio calls for Deutsche Telekom, ADB,
Dresdner Bank to cancel investments
Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has attacked a plan by several
leading German companies to open an investment office in the Burmese capital
Rangoon. "We're not in favour of investments in Burma at this particular
moment because money that gets into the country does not get to the people
that need it most" Suu Kyi told Deutsche Welle English service in a
telephone inteview on Wednesday, 8th January (1997) from Rangoon. New
investments "would only enrich an already very rich elite" the Nobel peace
prize winner said.
Eight German companies are jointly funding the office, which will be
officially opened when a delegation of 15 German business people visit Burma
later in January. Telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, engineering firm ABB
Mannheim, Dresdner bank and Berliner Bank are among those involved.
News of the German initiative comes despite tension in Burma after recent
student protest, and contrasts sharply with grwoing calls for business to
boycott the country due to human rights concerns. The European Commission in
December 1996 urged European Finance ministers to suspend Burma's trade
priviliges on the grounds that the military regime sanctions the use of
forced labour. The EU has also banned European visits by Burmese officials.
Suu Kyi said "if I could persuade them to cancel their plans, I would do
so", referring to the GErman companies. "Perhaps the German public should
persuade them not ot go ahead."
The plan to open the representative office, on January 30th, is being
co-ordinated by the Hamburg-based German Asia-Pacific Business Association.
Regional manager Wolfgang Niedermark told Deutsche Welle the office will
provide "information of ervey kind" to bring German companies "into contact
with potential Burmese partners". Niedermark said he was aware of political
tension in Burma and international concern over Human Rights, but said "we
are really business oriented and we don not have any political ambitions."
Suu Kyi condemned this attitude, especially because it came from Germans.
"With Germany's history and experience I think it's shocking that any German
should say that we're only interested in economics,we have nothing to do
with politics. The fact that Germany was involved in the second world war
was due to political errors not economic errors."
But Niedermark argued that foreign investment could bring change in Burma.
"We would liek to stay in contact with people in such countires where we
think (the) human rights record is not as we wish". Economic contacts are
better than isolation or investment boycotts, he said.
The office will cost "several hundred thousand Deutschmarks" to run its
first year, with one german and svereal local staff, Niedermark said. The
other companies involved are ENV, a Berlin-based environment management
group; a transport company Müller & partner from Cologne; the Fulda-based
textile company Ispert and a Hamburg trading company. More companies may
join the funding group later, Neidermark said.
German trade and invetsment ties with Burma lag behind those of other Asian
and European countries. German-Burmese trade totalled around $50 million in
1994. Siemens, clothing multinational Triumph and several tourist companies
are aming the few German cpmnaies with offices or joint ventures in Burma
Cologne, 8th january 1997
(Amsterdam, 8th of january 1997)
BCN is onafhankelijke stichting. Doel: Nederlandse samenleving informeren
over Burma. Het initieert en co-ordineert aktiviteiten die democratisering
en duurzame ontwikkeling bevorderen. Het geeft een positieve bijdrage aan
een constructieve dialoog tussen de diverse groeperingen.
Paulus Potterstraat 20
1071 DA AMSTERDAM
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