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BurmaNet News April 21, 1997 (r)
- Subject: BurmaNet News April 21, 1997 (r)
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 01:22:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: April 21, 1997
Noted in passing:
?Has our failure to impose the Cohen-Feinstein sanctions...made it more
difficult for us to argue that Thailand and other Asean nations should
isolate the SLORC and provide continued assistance to its victims??
-- Congressman Christopher Smith on the plight of tens of thousands of
refugees who fled to Thailand to escape a burmese military offensive.
(see VOA REPORT: US SANCTIONS ON BURMA)
THAILAND TIMES: BURMESE TROOPS ATTACK STUDENT CAMP
THAILAND TIMES:CHAVALIT:SLORC CHAIRMAN TO STEP ASIDE
THAILAND TIMES:BURMESE MUSLIMS LAUNCH PROTEST
THE VILLAGE VOICE:LOCAL LOBBYISTS AND UNOCAL SHILL
THE NATION: ARMY SETS ONE WEEK DEADLINE FOR REFUGEES
VOA REPORT: US SANCTIONS ON BURMA
REUTERS:BURMA-U.S. SANCTIONS "WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION"
BOSTON GLOBE: MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS
BKK POST: CHAVALIT TO VISIT BURMA NEXT MONTH
RANGOON RADIO MYANMAR:LAOS' KHAMTAI ARRIVE
FBC-SA: HONORARY DOCTORATE FOR DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
FBC AUSTRALIA: THREE DAYS FOR BURMA
THAILAND TIMES: BURMESE TROOPS ATTACK DISSIDENT STUDENT CAMP
April 20, 19997
BANGKOK: Burmese government forces have attacked a dissident
student base close to the Thai border triggering a new exodus of refugees
into southern Thailand, sources said yesterday.
Some 1,000 troops of Burma's State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc) are conducting an offensive against the student's 8888 Camp
and nearby ethnic settlements, opposite Thailand's Prachuab Khiri Khan
province, according to the All Burma Students's Democratic Front (ABSDF).
Col Somdej Seumak of Thailand's Ninth Infantry Division confirmed there had
been fighting across the border on Friday and that 138
refugees had crossed into Thap Sakae district of Prachuab Khiri Khan that
138 refugees had crossed into Thap Kakae district of Prachuab Khiri Khan
An ABSDF spokesman reported that a further 500 ethnic Mon
refugees had fled to the border, but were yet to cross into Thailand. More
refugees were expected from settlements of Karen, Mon and Moslem communities
close to the student camp.
An estimated 20,000 refugees have already escaped to Thailand
since February during a massive sweep by Burmese junta troops along Burma's
western border, to flush out resistance from rebel Karens.
Small groups of dissident s including the ABSDF have supported
the Karens' resistance to the Slorc.
The ABSDF spokesman said 8888 Camp, which is located about two km inside
Burma, had been under attack for over a week and was
shelled on Friday, There had been no further fighting yesterday.
THAILAND TIMES:CHAVALIT SAYS SLORC CHAIRMAN TO STEP ASIDE
April 19, 1997
KANCHANABURI: BURMESE military leader Gen Than Shwe is planning to step down
after clearing up internal military conflicts, Prime
Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday.
Speaking about the rumors of an internal power struggle within
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Chavalit said the Slorc
chairman "wants to step down."
The premier did not clarify exactly when and how Than Shwe will
give up his posts, only saying Than Shwe will step down after he has cleared
up internal problems within the armed forces.
Than Shwe, 64 came into power after the Burmese military brutally
suppressed demonstrations by pro-democracy students in 1988. He
replaced long time military strongman, Ne Win, when the Slorc was formed.
Besides holding the chairmanship of the military junta, Than Shwe also holds
the posts of prime minister, defense minister and minister of industry.
Rumors about his retirement began circulating last fall after he
was reported to have suffered a stroke. Since then, he has carried out
largely ceremonial duties, greeting foreign dignitaries and visiting
Chavalit's remarks about Than Shwe's plans came shortly after a
mysterious bombing at the home of senior Slorc official Gen Tin Oo, which
killed his 34 year old daughter. One of the causes is believed to be
internal conflicts caused by a power struggle within the Slorc leadership.
A senior Thai military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
that the Slorc officers have split into two factions. One is led by Lt Gen
Khin Nyunt and the other is led by Slorc vice chairman and army chief
commander, Gen Maung Aye. Than Shwe is seen as the buffer between the two
The two groups are jockeying for power behind the scenes, he said. The
Maung Aye faction has wanted to topple Than Shwe, who is still respected by
most military officers, said the source.
One theory holds that when Than Shwe steps down, Maung Aye will succeed him
as Slorc chairman as well as commander in chief of
the Tatmadaw defense forces.
Gen Maung Aye is known as a hawk who believes the Slorc can
solve their myriad domestic problems with military force. He also opposed
the conciliatory tone Khin Nyunt and Than Shwe initially took with Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi after her release from house arrest in 1996.
Khin Nyunt, meanwhile, heads Slorc military intelligence and is
rumored to be close to Ne Win, who some say still has considerable influence
with in the junta.
Chavalit is known to have maintained his close ties with the
Burmese military leaders since his retirement form Thai military service.
Thailand's army commander in chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro also has a policy
to be friendly with Burma. He has met with Gen Maung Aye
several times recently for various discussions related to border conflicts.
He is scheduled to meet with Maung Aye again in Kawthaung later this month.
Chavalit also said the Karen refugee problem will vanish once
Than Shwe steps down but offered no indication as to how that would be the case.
THAILAND TIMES:BURMESE MUSLIMS LAUNCH PROTEST AGAINST SLORC
April 19, 1997
TAK: A Burmese Islamic activist yesterday said most Muslims in Burma refused
to cut up goat and cow meat during the Islamic feast of Eid-ul-Adha in
protest against systematic persecution from the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc).
The aim of the demonstration was to show disapproval of the SLORC by
refusing to comply with the traditional religious rite of
distributing meat to the poor during the ceremony held each year.
The activist, who wished to remain anonymous, said this action
was undertaken in order to persuade Muslims world-wide , particularly in
Middle Eastern countries to boycott the Burmese junta.
Referring to the burning of Islam's holiest book the "Koran" last
month, he said most Muslims believed it was the work of the SLORC and not
Buddhist monks in an attempt to create religious tension between Muslims and
Last month, Buddhist monks protesting in Mandalay were reported to have
ransacked mosques and burned copies of the Koran in
retaliation to an alleged rape of a Young Buddhist woman by two
THE VILLAGE VOICE: "LOCAL LOBBYISTS AND UNOCAL SHILL FOR BURMA'S MILITARY
JUNTA" BEYOND RANGOON
April 17, 1997
by Ken Silverstein
In recent months, three congressional delegations have embarked on missions
to Burma, a country whose citizens suffer widespread human rights abuses and
"live in a climate of fear," according to a new United Nations report. The
nation's military dictatorship has abolished almost all opposition, kept
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi under virtual house arrest, and
employed torture and murder to maintain itself in power. Despite these
atrocities, and despite increasing pressure from a bipartisan coalition of
legislators and activists, President Clinton refused last week to impose
economic sanctions on the regime.
The president's decision seems to have been influenced by a high-stakes
lobbying effort being put forth on behalf of Burma's ruling generals -- an
effort that includes tow of the congressional excursions. The first
mission, headed by John Porter of Illinois, cochair of the Congressional
Human Rights Caucus, was denied entry and forced to travel to Thailand
instead. The other delegations, however -- one of which included New York
State's rising star, Bill Paxon -- were warmly greeted by the junta.
The regime's friendly welcome to the last two groups wasn't surprising.
Their respective journeys were funded by the Asia-Pacific Exchange
Foundation and the Burma/Myanmar Forum -- two D.C. outfits that receive
funding from oil giant UNOCAL, the biggest U.S. investor in Burma. UNOCAL's
financial support for those groups is part of a broad campaign by the
company to improve relations between Washington and Rangoon, and head off
any human rights-based action that could jeopardize its financial stake
there. The oil giant has even hired New York's top lobbying firm, Davidoff
& Malito, to help it quash local legislation that would punish companies
doing business in Burma.
UNOCAL's efforts represent the latest stage in Burma's quest for
international legitimacy. As one of the most reviled regimes in the world,
Burma is keenly aware of the need to polish its image in the U.S. -- its
financial success is riding on it. Last year, Congress passed a law
requiring the Clinton administration to impose stiff sanctions against Burma
if the junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
stepped up repression of the opposition. Such criteria seems to have been
easily surpassed, as evidenced by Amnesty International's report that 1996
was the worst year for human rights in Burma since 1988, when the military
seized power and slaughtered 3000 people. The administration apparently
disagrees, as demonstrated by last week's decision not to act.
Burma's attempt to shed its rogue image first gained notice in 1991, when
the country hired lobbyist Edward Van Kloberg. Previously, Van Kloberg had
represented such beacons of democracy as Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu,
Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, and Samuel Doe of Liberia. Van Kloberg took to
his task with relish, helping arrange meetings between Burma's ambassador, U
Thaung, and 23 members of Congress. However, the SLORC, apparently
embarrassed by the negative media coverage that followed the deal, summarily
dismissed Van Kloberg and stiffed him for $5000. The lobbyist, who
previously lavished praise on U Thaung, recently referred to him in print as
a "little shit."
Following the Van Kloberg debacle, the SLORC apparently concluded that the
task of lobbying would be best left to American firms with local
investments. But with many companies having pulled out -- including Disney
and PepsiCo -- in response to pressure from U.S. solidarity groups, only a
handful of American firms still have significant money on the line in Burma.
UNOCAL has the most at state, in the form of its share in a $1.2 billion
oil-pipeline joint venture with the French firm Total, the SLORC, and the
government of Thailand. Therefore, the sordid task of selling Burma to the
U.S. government and public has landed on the oil company's shoulders.
UNOCAL insists that the best way to promote human rights in Burma is to have
other U.S. firms join it there. "Engagement and investment are the keys to
starting a Third World country on the road to political reform," says a PR
statement the firm helped draft. "Isolation is exactly the wrong approach."
The company's strategy of speaking only in vague terms about the supposed
benefits of "engagement" is a wise one, since it's hard to see how
participation in a huge joint venture with a cabal of military thugs could
somehow enhance the cause of democracy. UNOCAL would also like to avoid
discussing the messy details of its involvement in Burma, such as the
company's decision to provide the cash-strapped dictatorship with a $7
million fertilizer credit.
To promote its ludicrous arguments, UNOCAL has recruited a number of heavy
hitters, including Timmons and Co's Tom Korologos, a prominent GOP lobbyist
who served as one of Bob Dole's top campaign advisers. UNOCAL paid
Korologos's firm -- which lobbied for the oil company on a broad range of
issues including Burma -- $280,000 for its efforts in 1996. During
congressional debate last summer, Korologos put heavy pressure on
Republicans who were considering voting for a bill that would have
immediately slapped sanctions on Rangoon. The bill was narrowly defeated,
clearing the way for passage of the loophole-ridden measure that Clinton
clings to as a justification for inaction.
UNOCAL has also been working at the state and local levels, especially in
opposing so-called selective- purchasing laws. These statues, which have
passed in a dozen cities and the state of Massachusetts, ban or deter
companies that do business in Burma from receiving government contracts.
Davidoff & Malito -- headed by Sid Davidoff, the close friend and advisor to
former mayor David Dinkins, and Robert Malito, one of Senator Alfonse
D'Amato's closest cronies -- was recently retained by UNOCAL to oppose a
selective-purchasing bill now before the New York City Council. At a March
4 council hearing, Davidoff & Malito's Arthur Goldstein claimed that while
there "are consistent reports" of human rights problems in Burma, "no such
violations have taken place" in connection with the UNOCAL project -- a
statement that ignores that SLORC forced peasants to labor on the pipeline
and forcibly relocated villages lying in its path. "Before UNOCAL hired
Davidoff & Malito we had an excellent chance of winning," says Nina Reznick,
a lawyer who has led New York's selective purchasing drive. "I'm still
optimistic, but it's going to take a hell of a lot more work."
UNOCAL has also sought to influence public opinion, selecting the Washington
PR firm Edelman Worldwide to drum up positive press. Edelman associate
Katie Connorton has taken on the task of soliciting articles from university
professors. In a January 31 letter to one academic, Connoton explained how
UNOCAL's pipeline project "is helping ... (bring) high paying jobs, economic
development, and socioeconomic assistance" to Burma -- perfect fodder, she
suggested for a piece about the oil company's heartwarming deeds in that
Among UNOCAL's most effective allies are the beltway outfits behind the
congressional junkets to Burma. The Asia-Pacific Exchange Foundation,
headed a right-wing army reserve general, Richard Quick, has also
sponsored delegations to China and Singapore. Last December, the foundation
aid for four congressional Republicans --Paxon of New York, House majority
whip Tom De Lay of Texas, Dennis Hastert of Illinois, and Deborah Pryce of
Ohio -- to travel to Burma. The quartet met with various military leaders
and stayed in the tyrannized nation, ironically enough, on December 10,
International Human Rights Day.
The U.S. representatives did not meet with opposition leaders during their
visit but did find time to fly -- on a military plane -- to Pagan, a lovely
town where a few years ago villagers were forcibly removed to keep them away
from tourists and foreign reporters. The congress members also visited the
pipeline facilities, this being of particular interest to DeLay and Hastert,
as UNOCAL contributes to their political campaigns.
The Burma/Myanmar Forum is run by Frances Zwenig, a former staffer to
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and describes itself as "a key source
of information for those interested in the developing relationship between
the United States and Burma/Myanmar." The Forum has sponsored several trips
to Burma, most recently in February, when it covered the costs for five
carefully selected Hill staffers. These included Deanna Okun from the
office of Senator Frank Murkowski, perhaps the most rapidly pro-oil member
of Congress, and Dan Bob from the office of Senator William Roth, head of
the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees sanctions. "Zwenig's good. She
knows the Hill and how to work it," says a beltway Burma watcher who asked
not to be identified. "She must have money behind her because arranging
these trips is not cheap."
Neither Quick nor Zwenig will reveal their organization's financial backers.
However, a UNOCAL spokesman acknowledged that the company subsidizes both
operations. He would not say in what amount. "These are independent
organizations which pursue their mandates in an objective manner," said the
spokesman. "We have every right to support them. Asia is a major market
Activists from U.S. solidarity groups have a different perspective. "These
groups claim to be independent and give UNOCAL plausible deniability," said
Doug Steele, an editor of the online service Burma-Net. "Some members of
Congress who go on these trips may not even realize that they are being
Despite its lavish spending and powerful allies, UNOCAL may not be able to
fend off tougher measures against its friends in the SLORC for much longer.
There is a strong movement in Congress to pass a tougher sanctions bill on
Burma this year and even Clinton may reverse fields and back the provisions.
"He's up to his eyeballs with Asia problems," says the Burma watcher,
referring to the "donorgate" scandal. "The president may go along (with a
new sanctions bill), if only to avoid drawing any more attention to the region.
THE NATION: ARMY SETS ONE WEEK DEADLINE FOR REFUGEES
April 18, 1997
KANCHANABURI - The Army has given about 2,400 newly arrived
refugees at Tho Kah camp in Thong Pha Phum district one week in
which to either move to a new site further south in the province
or return to Burma.
An informed source said it was not clear why the 9th Division
commander in Kanchanaburi, Maj Gen Thaweep Suwan nasingh, wanted
the refugees to move to Phu Muang camp, which is facing problems
During a visit to Tho Kah on Wednesday, Thaweep told refugees who crossed
into Thailand when the Burmese army mounted a heavy
offensive in the area over the weekend that they had three options to choose
from within a week.
They could either go to Phu Muang camp in Muang district, join
the Mon shelter at Halokkhani camp just across the border from Thailand's
Sangkha Buri district or go back to Burma on their own.
About 1,200 Karen refugees 700 of whom arrived after their guerrillas' 6th
Brigade headquarters fell to the Burmese army in February are already taking
refuge in Halokkhani, which is primarily a Mon camp.
The source said that the refugees one third of whom are Tavoyans
while the rest are Karen did not want to go to Phu Muang, as the place is
far from their homes, which are in an area intended for the controversial
Yadana gas pipeline project.
They also do not want to return to Burma now as it is unsafe for
them, he added. Tho Kha is about two kilometres deeper into Thailand.
The multi billion dollar Yadana pipeline project, which will tap
natural gas form Burma's Gulf of Martaban and transport it through the
seabed and overland to Thailand, has come under heavy international
criticism for its effect on the local Burmese population.
There are widespread reports of human rights abuses, forced
eviction and forced labour as a result of the project, which is run by a
consortium of four partners: France's oil company Total, American petro
giant Unocal, Thailand's Petroleum Authority of Thailand and the Burmese
junta's MYANMAR Oil and Gas Enterprise.
During the weekend attacks and shelling of Karen National Union
(KNU) guerrillas near Tho Kah, about 20 heavy Burmese shells fell on Thai soil.
Other sources said that although the 9th Division had allowed
Karen refugees to flee fighting into Thailand after recent media reports
accused the division of forcing repatriations, it had imposed restrictions
on access by outsiders to camps in Kanchanaburi. Camps in Ratchaburi remain
accessible to those with permission.
VOA REPORT: US SANCTIONS ON BURMA
April 18, 1997
The United States this week sent its strongest signal yet to Burma¹s
military government that Rangoon could face new economic sanctions in the
absence of progress toward human rights and democratic reform.
The strongest remarks on Burma so far this year by any Clinton
administration official came from secretary of state Madeleine Albright. In
a foreign policy speech, she said Burma¹s ruling military government is on
notice that unless ªthe clouds of repression are lifted,ª burma will face
investment sanctions under u-s law.
Secretary Albright¹s remarks came amid continuing speculation about how soon
-- if at all -- President Clinton will implement a 1996 law requiring an end
to new investment in Burma by US companies.
Earlier this month, a US newspaper (Washington Times) reported that Mr.
Clinton was leaning away from any early action. The newspaper quoted un
named US officials as saying US policy would be to gradually increase
pressure on Rangoon.
Soon after that report, the state department said sanctions remain an option
-- although no deadlines are being set.
But the day after secretary Albright¹s remarks, the sanctions question came
up again. This was state department spokesman Nicholas Burns¹ reply to a
reporter who suggested that, when it comes to human rights, the United
States was applying different standards to different countries:
/// Burns act ///
Well, you know, there isn¹t, as far as i¹m aware, any sanctions, legislation
that senior members of congress have proposed for China. There is for
Burma. And we have, of course, universal principles that we adhere to
across the board. But you have to look at the tactics of trying to change a
government¹s behavior from country to country. Now, a bunch of military
dictators, like those in Rangoon, we think, might sit up and take notice if
the largest and most important country in the world, the most powerful
country in the world, presents that threat to them. And we hope this will
moderate some of their behavior, which has been quite disappointing in
/// end act ///
Mr. Burns said although the president has not yet made a decision, Burma¹s
military should recognize that sanctions are now ªa strong possibility.ª
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the question of action or inaction in
implementing the 1996 sanctions law and overall policy toward Burma received
Here is what Republican Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey had to
say during a hearing on the plight of tens of thousands of refugees who fled
to Thailand to escape a burmese military offensive:
/// Smith act ///
Has our failure to impose the Cohen-Feinstein sanctions, which were passed
into law last September and signed by the president, and which (among other
things) specifically requires the president to prohibit US investment in
Burma in the event of large-scale political repression by the SLORC (Burma¹s
State Law and Order Restoration Council), made it more difficult for us to
argue that Thailand and other Asean (Association of Southeast Asian) nations
should isolate the SLORC and provide continued assistance to its victims?
/// end act ///
//Opt// at the same hearing, Soe Pyne (pron: so-pine) of the exile National
Coalition Government of Burma, said refugee problems along the border are
the direct result of Burma¹s continuing political problems. He urged more
US pressure on Rangoon:
/// Soe Pyne act ///
The United States and the international community must step up their efforts
aimed at pressuring the SLORC to enter into dialogue with the democracy
movement and the ethnic nationalities. That process will resolve the
refugee problem and ensure peace and harmony in Burma and the region.
/// end act - end opt ///
Meanwhile, a senator who supported an even tougher sanctions bill in 1996
said again he feels conditions in Burma are such that Mr. Clinton must act.
Republican Mitch McConnell, along with democratic senator Patrick Leahy and
others watching Burma, have vowed to draft new legislation calling for
immediate action -- in the absence of an administration move to implement
last year¹s law. (signed)
REUTERS: BURMA SAYS U.S. SANCTIONS "WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION"
April 16, 1997
The United States is using the threat of economic sanctions against
Burma like a weapon aimed at destroying basic rights of the Burmese people,
a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
"The U.S. economic sanctions is a policy which is being extensively used
today as a weapon of destruction against a nation or a population regarded
as unfriendly," the spokesman said in a faxed response to questions by Reuters.
He had been asked about remarks made on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright, who criticised Burma's military government for
failing to respond to appeals to improve human rights.
"Burmese leaders are on notice that, unless the clouds of repression are
lifted, they will face investment sanctions under U.S. law," Albright said
in a speech to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
U.S. President Bill Clinton can impose sanctions on Burma if democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi is rearrested or the situation in Burma worsens.
Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, was under house arrest for six years
for her criticism of the Rangoon government.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called Albright's remarks a
stiffening of the U.S. position.
"It puts squarely before the Burmese dictators the proposition that
without an improvement in the human rights situation, there is going to be
action by the United States," he said on Tuesday.
The Burmese spokesman told Reuters that his government was more concerned
about the situation in Burma than was the United States or any other
"If the U.S. is so genuinely concerned about the human rights of the
Myanmar (Burmese) people, why is it so necessary to deprive one of the
most essential rights of the Myanmar people -- the right to earn a living
and support the family?" he asked.
"Does U.S. human rights mean priority of one favoured person or a party
is above everything else? And does the U.S. really believe that installing an
overnight Western democracy is the cure for all developing, unstable and
problem-ridden countries of the world," he asked.
The U.S. and many other Western countries have criticised Burma for
human rights abuses and for failing to recognise the democratically elected
government of the National League for Democracy, which was co-founded by Suu
BOSTON GLOBE: MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS BURMA SANCTIONS BILL
April 16, 1997
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff
The chief sponsor of the controversial Massachusetts law imposing
sanctions on military-ruled Burma said a meeting yesterday with Clinton
administration trade officials did nothing to persuade him to water down the
Representative Byron Rushing, a Democrat from the South End, said the
three-person delegation from the US Trade Representative's office and State
Department did not try to pressure him or the Legislature to back off the
sanctions bill, which has created an international furor among American
Rushing said that the three - who also met with House Speaker Thomas M.
Finneran, a top economic aide to Governor William F. Weld, and other
lawmakers -outlined the administration's concerns that the law violated
international trade agreements.
"Nothing was said in these conversations that convinced me we should
change our position or we should urge the Legislature to do anything
different," he said.
The law forbids the state from awarding contracts to companies doing
business in Burma, whose nine-year-old military junta has been assailed
for repressing democracy, and requires state pension funds to divest
themselves of stock in companies that do business there.
Weld yesterday said the European Union and Japan have raised a "straight
legal question . . . a non-frivolous issue" of whether the US Constitution
takes precedence over Massachusetts foreign policy measures.
"I don't blame the EU or Japan for wanting to put it on the table," Weld
said, adding that he had spoken to US Trade Representative Charlene
Barshefsky and offered to help her office defend state law to the World
The EU and Japan, under pressure from multinational corporations, told
the Clinton administration that if Massachusetts does not back off on its
Burma law within four weeks, they will begin a formal protest to the World
Trade Organization. They contend the law discriminates against businesses
from their countries.
Also pending in Massachusetts is a bill imposing similar sanctions on
companies doing business in Indonesia, which is facing criticism for its
suppression of political opposition in East Timor.
BKK POST: CHAVALIT TO VISIT BURMA NEXT MONTH
April 20, 1997
Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh will visit Burma early next month,
Froeign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasarn said yesterday.
The issue was discussed during a meeting with his Burmese
counterpart Ohn Gyaw, whom Mr Prachuab was hoping to play golf
with in Bangkok today.
Mr Prachuab said the premier wanted to visit Burma as part of his
desire to drop in on neighbouring countries following his recent tour of
Asean nations and China.
Mr Prachuab, who also invited Cambodian Foreign Minister Somsavat Lengsavad
to tee-off with him, said Gen Chavalit was scheduled to visit both Laos and
Cambodia in June.
Permanent Secretary Saroj Chavanaviraj will go to Rangoon next
Thursday to prepare the premier's schedule and the topics for discussion
with Burmese leader Gen Than Shwe.
A Foreign Ministry official said that the bridge linking Mae Sot
in Tak and Myawaddy of Burma would be high on the agenda because
its construction was scheduled to be completed soon.
Mr Prachuab's one-hour meeting with U Ohn Gyaw also touched on other
bilateral issues, including the setting up of the Thai-Burmese Friendship
Association, the annual meeting of the Joint Commission at foreign
ministerial level, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of
Thai-Burmese diplomatic relations next year.
He said Thailand wanted to build a hospital in Burma to
commemorate the event.
Burma's entry into Asean was not discussed but Mr Prachuab said
this would be raised by Asean foreign ministers on May 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
Asean leaders agreed last year to admit Burma, Cambodia and Laos into the
grouping at the same time, but did not set a timeframe.
RANGOON RADIO MYANMAR:LAOS' KHAMTAI ARRIVE IN RANGOON; DRUG PACT SIGNED
[translated from Burmese]
March 29, 1997
At the invitation of Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC] of the Union of Myanmar [Burma]
and prime minister, and his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing, Mr. Khamtai Siphandon,
prime minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic [LPDR], his wife
Madam Thongvan Siphandon, and a goodwill delegation arrived at Yangon
[Rangoon] International Airport by a special aircraft at 0930 today. They
were welcomed at Yangon International Airport by SLORC Chairman Sr. Gen.
Than Shwe and his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing; General Maung Aye, SLORC vice
chairman, deputy commander in chief of the Defense Services, and army
commander in chief, and his wife; SLORC Secretary-1 Lieutenant General Khin
Nyunt and his wife; SLORC Secretary-2 Lt. Gen. Tin U and his wife; Vice
Admiral Maung Maung Khin, SLORC member and deputy prime minister, and his
wife; Lt. Gen. Tin Tun, SLORC member and deputy prime minister, and his
wife; ministers and their wives; Mr. Valeri V Nazarov, dean of the
diplomatic corps and Russian ambassador, and his wife; and senior diplomats
and their wives. [passage omitted on procession to state guest house]
Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC Chairman and prime minister, and his wife Daw
Kyaing Kyaing hosted a banquet in honor of Mr. Khamtai Siphandon, prime
minister of LPDR, his wife Madam Thongvan Siphandon, and the Laotian
goodwill delegation at the Reception Hall of the People's Assembly Building
at 1900 today.
Khamtai Siphandon, the visiting Laotian prime minister, called on SLORC
Chairman Sr. Gen. Than Shwe at the Mingalar Hall of the People's Assembly
Building at 1400 today.
SLORC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt and his wife Dr. Daw Khin Win
Shwe paid a courtesy call on Mr. Khamtai Siphandon, the visiting Laotian
prime minister, and his wife Madam Thongvan Siphandon, at the Seinlekanthar
State Guest House at 1130 today. [passage omitted on tour and tree planting]
An agreement signing ceremony between the governments of the Union of
Myanmar and the LPDR was held at the Treaties Chamber of the People's
Assembly Building in Yangon at 1600 today. The ceremony was attended by Sr.
Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC Chairman and prime minister; Gen. Maung Aye, SLORC
vice chairman, deputy commander in chief of the Defense Services, and army
commander in chief; SLORC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt; SLORC Secretary-2
Lt. Gen. Tin U; Vice Admiral Maung Maung Khin and Lt. Gen. Tin Tun, both
SLORC members and deputy prime ministers; ministers, and senior officials.
A cooperation agreement to prevent illicit trafficking of narcotics,
psychotropic substances, and chemicals used in refining drugs was signed
and later exchanged by Myanmar Police Force Director General Soe Win,
secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, and Laotian
Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Phongsavat Boupha.
Another agreement, on cooperation and administration of Myanmar- Lao
border region, was signed and later exchanged by Myanmar Deputy Foreign
Minister U Nyunt Swe and Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Phongsavat Boupha.
FBC SOUTH AFRICA: HONORARY DOCTORATE FOR DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
April 18, 1997
STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE FREE BURMA CAMPAIGN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Durban, 18 April 1997
Honorary Doctorate for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
In a remote part of the world, 40 million people are kept in a prison
without walls. Their everyday existence is dominated by fear. Those who
dare ask for democracy are usually answered with bullets. The jackboots
who control this beautiful land have met their match in one woman who
simply is not afraid. Aung San Suu Kyi is the lone voice of the frightened
and her country, Burma, is one of the most violent places on earth. This is
a violence that should not be, for the demand of the Burmese is simply for
basic human rights. The generals who have ruled Burma since 1962 are deaf
to their people but the chorus demanding they step down is growing
The Free Campaign applauds the University of Natal for lending its voice
to this chorus. The university will confer on Aung San Suu Kyi an
honorary doctorate on April 23, 1997 at its graduation ceremony in
Durban. She has been unable and unwilling to leave Burma to accept a host of
awards, among which are the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace and the
prestigious Sakharov Prize. Her refusal is based on the belief that the
military may refuse to allow her back into the country. Being the
international symbol of the Burmese pro-democracy movement, she considers
her daily responsibilities far too immense to away from her beloved people.
Her poignant appeal to the international community is to, "Please use
your liberty to promote ours." As a people recently liberated from the yoke
of authoritarian rule, we, South Africans, have a moral obligation to answer
this desperate call for help. It was after all the selfless sacrifices of
ordinary men and women in all corners of the world who helped us defeat the
tyranny of apartheid. Burma is a tyranny that we dare not allow to
continue. The Free Burma Campaign urges the South African government to
distance itself from the military authorities in Rangoon and work towards
its isolation in international fora. The University of Natal has boldly
taken the first step and President Mandela would do well to offer the
support of our freedom-loving people to Aung San Suu Kyi and the
freedom-seeking people of Burma.
Released by : Free Burma Campaign (South Africa) , P.O. Box 138 ,
Pavilion, 3611 South Africa Tel: Intl +27 82 4166585
FBC AUSTRALIA: THREE DAYS FOR BURMA
April 19, 1997
Free Burma Coalition, Australia
WHEN SPIDERS UNITE THEY CAN TIE DOWN A LION
LETS DO IT
THREE DAYS OF ACTION
22ND APRIL TO 24TH APRIL INCL.
Our colleagues in the US are staging three days of action to pressure the US
administration into imposing sanctions against the SLORC. During this three
day period we ask that you take some form of action that will support their
campaign. OCAW, oil workers union in the US is joining hands with students
and the community in an all out attempt at forcing the hand of us policy makers.
Please join the Australia Burma Council and the Burma Office , Sydney by
writing letters to Alexander Downer asking that forms of sanctions be
imposed against the SLORC.
The Hon. Alexander Downer M.P.
Minister Foreign Affairs
Canberra Act 2600
FAX: (06) 273 4112
As you are aware the state law and order restoration council (SLORC) has
been escalating repression against their own people, in particular, the
students, monks, members of the non-Burman states and members and supporters
of the National League for Democracy.
In a motion which was passed by the Australian senate on the 19th June 1996
the SLORC was put on notice that sanctions would be considered if civil and
political rights were not restored.
(a) expresses greetings to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her birthday on the 19th
(1) with deep concern, the recent moves by the military regime in Burma
against the democracy movement in the country,
(2) reports that the SLORC is using torched earth tactics, in form of
looting and burning villages in the Kayah state, and
(111) with approval, the strong statement by the minister foreign affairs,
Alexander Downer, in response to renewed repression in Burma;
(c) welcomes moves by the state legislature of Massachusetts in the US to
ban state contracts with companies doing business in Burma, and
(d) calls on the government of Australia to put SLORC on notice that
potential trade sanctions must be placed on the agenda if civil and
political rights are not restored."
Minister, given the increasing use of slavery being used to construct
infrastructure necessary for tourism, the renewed civil war against the
Karen people, increasing intimidation of members of the NLD, an increasing
number of unjust sentences being meted out in a bid to shut down the NLD and
the obvious instability within the SLORC themselves we are of the considered
opinion that forms of sanctions must now be implemented by the Australian
As the senate resolution of june 19th 1996 calls for you to put SLORC on
notice that sanctions will be considered if civil and political rights are
not restored it seems only correct that ten months later with the situation
worse than ever and deteriorating by the day that you do just that.
Once again we call on the australian government to impose forms of
sanctions, as is deemed appropriate, until the SLORC agrees to hold
meaningful political dialogue with the NLD, ends the civil war and ceases
all forms of denial of human and civil rights in Burma.
We thank you for your attention and, as always, we thank you for the
constant diplomatic representation made to various international bodies and
nations by you on behalf of the democratic movement of burma.
FREE BURMA COALITION, AUSTRALIA IS WORKING FOR THE:
NATIONAL COALITION GOVERNMENT OF THE UNION OF BURMA, FEDERATION OF TRADE
UNIONS, BURMA AUSTRALIA BURMA COUNCIL
BURMA OFFICE, SYDNEY: MINN AUNG MYINT (burma@xxxxxxxxxx)
Labor Council Build. Suite 6, 8th Floor, 377-383 Sussex St. Sydney 2000
Fax: (612) 9264 7693 Tel: (612) 9264 7694
AUSTRALIAN REP OFFICE, CANBERRA: AMANDA (azappia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
PO Box 2024 Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Fax: (616) 297 7734 Tel: (616) 297 7773