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The BurmaNet News, October 20, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: October 20, 1997             
Issue #848


October 18, 1997

EUROPEAN Union countries want to see a Burmese "programme of action" that
shows the world community that the military junta plans to respect human
rights and put the country on the track to  democracy, Foreign Minister
Prachuab Chaiyasan said. 

Prachuab said-yesterday that the EU regarded as "a good sign" that Burma's
military junta, known as the State, Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), has already held a dialogue with National League for Democracy'(NLD).

"But it wants to see more concrete steps including the programme of action
which could show others that Burma is approaching democratisation and that
it respects human  rights," Prachuab added.

The minister was speaking at a press briefing by telephone from Brussels
after meeting the European Commission's Vice President  Manuel Marlin.

The EU countries have banned the entry of the Slorc leaders into their
countries as a sanction against the Slorc administration.
Burma's admission into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)
has received strong criticism from Western countries, including the United
States and EU countries, who are dialogue partners of the grouping.

Burma's membership also caused a divide between Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem)
members which has Asean as a core, because the European countries, citing
Burma's dictatorship and poor human rights record, do not want to see the
country attend the Asem meeting in London next year.

However, Asean argues that it prefers to see a "non discrimination" policy
for new members of Asem.

Prachuab yesterday said Marlin asked Thailand to stay close to the
development of democracy and human rights in the country and to brief EU on
the progress, so that the EU could lobby members which oppose Burma's
attendance at the next Asem meeting.

Marlin was quoted as saying that the opponents of Burma included Norway,
Denmark and other  Scandinavian countries.

"Senior Asem officials will meet next month in Luxemburg to discuss the
directions in which the Asem membership will expand," he said.

Prachuab added that during the discussion, in which they touched on
Cambodia, Marlin said that the EU is willing to give  US$12 million in
financial support to help Cambodia organise the national election in May
next year.


October 18, 1997

Rangoon- Burma's military government permitted democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi and more than 300 members of her National League for Democracy to hold a
religious ceremony at her home here yesterday.

Party faithful dressed in their customary peach-colored jackets paid
respects to 60 senior politicians, including some of Burma's independence
fighters, during the traditional ceremony of obeisance to elders that marks
the end of the three-month Buddhist lent. 


October 14, 1997
[translated from Burmese]

Oslo - Democratic Voice of Burma

The rivalry between a Mergui-based fishing trawler company led by Kyar
Maung, a follower of Khun Sa and Lo Hsing Han, and another fishing trawler
company owned by a Thai company and led by Ko Ke and Ko San has become more
pronounced in the region since the beginning of fishing season in late
September.  In late May 1996, Tun Myint Naing alias Stephen Law, son of
opium trafficker Lo Hsing Han, and U Than Tun, a representative of Khun Sa,
arrived at the newly opened Coastal Military Command and met with the
commander, Maj. Gen. Sit Maung. It was learned that U Kyar Maung, who was
known as a leading pirate in the coastal region and who has concessions
along the Tenasserim coast, was appointed as a representative of Lo Hsing
Han's company.
Although U Kyar Maung is not known to the world like Khun Sa and Lo
Hsing Han, there is almost no one who does not know U Kyar Maung in Burma's
sea.  Like Khun Sa, he has his own army which is allowed to hold modern
weapons with its base in Cape Kyar Gyi Aw in Tenasserim Township. 
Commander Sit Maung allowed other leading pirates like Kyar Maung -- Maung
Ngo, Tin Pe, Me Mahn, and Win Naing -- to form anti-insurgent groups and
settle on islands between Palau and Kawthaung.
Each Thai fishing company is required to give $12,000 for each fishing
trawler and additional money to armed groups they come across in the open
sea.  Lately, the Thai fishing trawlers are no longer interested in
conventional arrangements as they find it more profitable to deal with
local military units by bribing them. Bribery in the form of cash to a
SLORC [State Law and Order Restoration Council] naval boat allows them to
send 80 percent of the catch to Ranong and the remaining 20 percent to the
port of Mergui.  Sometimes, a bribe of Baht 100,000 to a naval boat would
allow them to use dynamites in the sea.  Compared to nets, this method
increased the catch by 10 times. Although this method is not allowed under
the law, most Thai trawlers use this method.
The fishing concern led by U Kyar Maung in which Commander Sit Maung
has shares does not have to give bribe to any military units.  According to
sources close to them, various permits for trawlers were granted under the
names of various companies, but the money comes from drug traffickers. 
Commander Sit Maung, who behaves like a king in the Tenasserim Division,
earned his name in fighting Khun Sa's forces in the Shan State.  However,
according to local people, at present, he is doing well for himself by
colluding with the former enemy, drug trafficker Khun Sa.


October 19, 1997
By Cesar Chelala

One of the most regrettable aspects of Burma's abusive military regime is
its persecution and imprisonment of physicians. This persecution comes at a
time of continuous deterioration of health conditions in that country. It can be
anticipated that the situation will only worsen unless the international
community forces out a dictatorship that is far more responsive to its own
perverse interests than to the welfare of the Burmese people.

Now under arrest or missing are eight physicians who are members of
parliament. It is known that three of them were given 25-year prison
sentences for attending secret meetings.  One of the physicians, Dr. Aung
Khin Sint, had been awarded a literacy award in 1972 and received the World
Health Fellowship three times. He was arrested on Aug. 4, 1993, for
distributing leaflets that opposed restrictions imposed on the National
Convention. He was released on Feb. 4, 1995, rearrested on July 23, 1996,
and is still in prison. No sentence has been given, nor are family visits

Also imprisoned is Dr. Ma Thida, the recipient of the 1996 Reebok Human
Rights Award and of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith award, which honors writers or
journalists who have courageously defended freedom of expression. Dr. Ma
Thida is a writer and political activist who was a campaign assistant to
Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma's democracy movement. In October 1993,
she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "endangering public
tranquillity, having
contact with unlawful organizations, and distributing unlawful literature."
It's possible that Dr. Ma Thida was punished for being among several
physicians who treated civilians during the pro-democracy demonstrations of
1988, and for her outspoken work for the National League for Democracy. She
is being kept at Insein prison in Rangoon. 

A report by Amnesty International reveals that Dr. Ma Thida is held in
solitary confinement, that her prison cell has little light and that she has
no access to reading materials. She has had tuberculosis, and in the past
three years has
developed three ovarian tumors that require surgery. Because of lack of
access to her or to information about her health, it is not known whether
surgery has been performed to remove the tumors.  Burma's jails are mostly
inaccessible not only to human rights and humanitarian organizations but, in
many cases, to the families of the detainees as well.

It is estimated that there are 4,800 prisoners in Insein prison, most of
whom are without adequate medical attention, in conditions that Amnesty
International indicates often amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. Also of
concern is the denial of medical care for those imprisoned or forced to act
as porters for army troops in border areas. Civilians have been repeatedly
maimed or killed by land mines placed by the military.

Physicians for Human Rights has gathered information that in the past the
Burmese security forces have violated internationally accepted principles of
medical neutrality. In addition, during periods of conflict between the
government and minority groups, health workers in border areas have been
detained for rendering medical care, and civilians in those areas have been
denied the most basic medical attention.

The need for health workers is the more pressing because AIDS is an
important public health problem in the region in general and in Burma in
particular. In 1996 it was estimated that 500,000 people in Burma had been
infected with HIV. Of an estimated 160,000 drug addicts, at least half are
said by experts to be infected with HIV. Burma's neighbors share in the
risk, as HIV infection spreads quickly along drug trade routes. There has
been a rapid expansion of the epidemic from the poppy-growing centers of
northern Thailand to
neighboring areas of Burma, China, India and Laos.

Currently, only about 65 percent of the Burmese people have access to basic
health services, which explains the poor national health indicators. The
national infant mortality rate in 1995 was 105 for every 1,000 live births,
with wide regional variations in the country. This compares with 34 in
Vietnam, 27 in Thailand and 11 in Malaysia. According to UNICEF, 1 million
children are malnourished, 9 to 12 percent severely so.  The high rate of
babies with birth weight below 5 1/2 pounds probably reflects the high
malnutrition levels
among pregnant women.

UNICEF reports that maternal mortality rates for 1990 were an astronomically
high 580 per 100,000 live births, compared with 80 in Malaysia and 10 in
Singapore. Most maternal deaths in Burma are due to induced abortions,
largely conducted clandestinely, and to unsanitary conditions. In addition,
there is a widespread lack of essential medications, which contributes to
the poor health status of the population.

There has been a slow but noticeable change in the international community's
stance toward Burma, which makes the goal of forcing out the generals appear
within reach.  Several companies have in the recent past pulled out of the
country, while no new investments can come from America,  since President
Clinton announced sanctions against the junta last May. If that tendency
gathers momentum, the worsening economic situation may precipitate the
general's downfall. It can't be too soon for the suffering Burmese people.

The writer is a member of the International Advisory Board of Physicians for
Human Rights. 


October 19, 1997
Aung Zaw

Sunday Review
Burma Watch

Former political prisoners tell of their experience in one of the most
notorious prisons.

Insein, Burma's notorious prison, is where most of the country's political
prisoners are incarcerated. But anyone who has been inside and come out
alive, dreads the idea of ever going back.

The prison system often reflects the type of government in power, said 32
year-old former political prisoner and engineering student Win Naing Oo who
is now living in exile.

In the past few years, approximately 100 political prisoners have died in
Insein as a result of dysentery and severe torture. More recently, some
political prisoners have died of Aids. However, to date, the authorities are
not paying any serious attention to the worsening health situation and the
spread of the deadly HIV virus among inmates in Insein.

Former political prisoner Moe Aye who spent six years in Insein said
prisoners are afraid to go to the prison hospital. "Before, when we were
sick, we would go there, but not anymore," he said.

The reason: only one needle is used a day for up to 200 patients. This
includes drug addicts. And the resultant uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Inside the prison hospital, there's a small signboard at the entrance of the
OPT (Out Patient Treatment) room which reads: "Today: 15 needles are
permitted for use."

According to Moe Aye, the OPT treats almost 200 patients daily. Thus, if one
needs an emergency injection, to ensure safety, the patient has to bribe the
medical officer to the tune of 300 kyat for a new needles and syringe.

In addition, "the medical workers" at the prison are not properly trained,
but prisoners who are handpicked by wardens to work in the hospital. "And
many of them are drug addicts who are infected with HIV," Moe Aye said.

Given this, political prisoners have demanded that no inmates be sent to the
prison hospital, while the ruling junta's military intelligence encourages
jail authorities to send the sick there. Consequently, all inmates including
political prisoners fear getting injections at the prison hospital.

Their concern is genuine. A number of political prisoners in Burma have died
of Aids. These include U Hla Than, the National League for Democracy (NLD)
parliamentarian for the Coco Islands, and the Peoples' Progressive Party's U
Hla Myint and U Kin Sein.

But those who suffer are not only Burmese.

According to a former Thai prisoner, at least one Thai dies each month of
HIV/Aids - many of whom were fishermen arrested in Burmese waters.

"I've seen my [Thai] friends die in the prison - the authorities paid no
attention," said Rashen Plengvithaya who was in Insein prison for five years.

Insein prison hospital has one doctor who is only available on Wednesdays.
On other days, the prisoners can see a "medical worker" between 10 am and 4
pm. When Moe Aye was imprisoned, Corp Khin Maung Nwe, who had little
clinical knowledge or experience, was assigned as a "medical worker". The
prisoners, he said, called him "Mr Burspro".

"Regardless of the affliction, all patients were treated with the same
medicine, usually a weak pain-killer like Burspro," Moe Aye said.

"There were no appropriate medicines provided, no regular check-ups by
doctors, no proper diagnoses, no proper treatment, and no assistance or care
of any kind for the patients," he said.

"Our blood pressure and heart rates were never taken and we never saw a
doctor with a stethoscope."

In 1991, the political prisoners requested that prison doctor Soe Kyi
provide all inmates with proper medicine after hearing of the premature
death of political prisoner U Tin Maung Win.

"You're lucky that we're even kind enough to prescribe Burspro. If the MIS
[Military Intelligence Service] knew about that, we [doctors and medics]
would be fired," Soe Kyi responded. "We were told not to give any treatment
to those who are awaiting trial or currently being tried."

And other horror stories abound. In 1991  a student who was suffering from a
bad toothache, went to see the doctor. Soe Kyi asked him, "Where does it
hurt?" The student replied, "My lower left jaw."

Sae Kyi smiled and said, "Okay, use your right side [to eat food]." The
student screamed, "You're not a doctor!"

"No. I'm not a dentist either," the doctor said.

In late February 1991, Toe Toe Tun from the Democratic Party for a New
Society, was suffering from dysentery and asked Soe Kyi to authorise special
meals of porridge and boiled water for him. As usual, Soe Kyi replied, "It's
impossible to provide boiled water. We don't even have boiled water to clean
the needles at our hospital."

And in March 1991, Moe  Zaw Oo  from the NLD developed a large boil on his
hip. "Medical worker" Khin Maung Nwe said the doctor would not treat him and
offered to remove the boil himself.

Moe Zaw Oo refused and insisted that he see the doctor. Soe Kyi arrived and
threatened: "Your boil needs to be operated on but if you continue to
complain, I'll send you to the hospital. And you know  that in the hospital
there is no operating room or sterile medical equipment and there are many
HIV-positive Thai patients."

Never forget, said the doctor, that this is a prison.

Eventually, Khin Maung Nwe was assigned to operate. Ironically, he asked the
prisoners to pay for new blades, bandages, alcohol and Ampicillin because
the prison would not provide them. The political prisoners finally cut a
deal with him. A political prisoner gave him his T-shirt, worth around 800
kyats, in
exchange for Moe Zaw Oo's treatment.

Moe Aye intents to write a book about his prison experiences. "For us,
Insein prison is more like Auschwitz," he said.


October 18, 1997

Statement of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (Western-Burma)  
regarding the arson of Namphalong market complex
We, the Burmese students have been officially taking shelter in India, as
political refugees since the military coup in September 1988. 
Now the Slorc and its followers are distributing rumours at the Indo-Burma
border that the Burmese students were involved in the incident of burning
down the Namphalong market complex at the night of October 11, 1997. First
of all 
we would like to explain that we absolutely were not involved in this incident.
It is just defaming the Burmese students by the Slorc to create the
misunderstanding between Burmese students and people who are residing at
Indo-Burma border. All the people of Burma including even the Slorc know
very well that the Burmese students are not the destructive elements and
always think and work for the benefit of the people.
We strongly believe that such kind of instability at the border area is due
to the self-centeredness and eagerness to get the upper hand of the Burmese
military junta. Similar incidents will happen in the future also, unless the
Slorc considers both sides.
It is a deeply ingrained habit of the Slorc that they will complain to
authorities of neighboring countries that the instabilities of the border
area is due to the presence of anti-Slorc elements at there. During the
coming flag meeting the Slorc might ask the Indian authorities not to allow
the democratic forces of Burma to stay in border area, claiming that all
instabilities there are created by them.
According to the reliable source from Burma, we came to know that the
Burmese Military Intelligence Service had sent at least 20 well trained
intelligence inside the territory of India since early 1997 to create
problems between Burmese democratic elements and both the people and
government of India. Moreover their intention is to destroy the unity of
democratic forces of Burma also. 
The military regime of Burma is always unpleasant with the presence of
anti-Slorc forces at the border area; those often took place the anti-Slorc
measures there. They always complain to the authorities of India in every
flag meeting not to allow the Burmese students live at the border area like
We notice that now is a good opportunity for the Slorc to create
misunderstandings between Burmese students and the government of India by
accusing us as the culprits of arson of Namphalong market complex and
instability at the border area. 
We strongly hope that the people and government of a big democratic country
like India will not accept the unreasonable accusations and complaints of
the universal liar like Slorc.
Regional Working Group
ABSDF (Western-Burma)     

October 16, 1997

NEW DELHI, Oct. 15 --Samata Party general secretary Jaya Jaitly today denied
the involvement of her party or its president George Fernandes in the razing
of the Namphalong Market complex on Oct 12 in Myanmar close to Moreh town of
Manipur. The recent incidents could be part of a "fight back" by the drug Mafia.

She said some newspapers had reported allegations that the Oct 2 protest
which SP activists held against drug trade was actually a front for helping
the traders' in Moreh whose business had been brought to a standstill
following the setting up of the big market complex in Tamu about three
months ago.

Addressing a Press conference, she said the Samata Party had decided to hold
the protest in Moreh way back in December 1996 at its National Executive
much before the market of Namphalong had come up.

The motivation was a story in the Time magazine, dated Dec 23,1996, which
said the value of heroin smuggled from Burma through India to the Middle
East, Europe and the United States was about Rs one lakh crore.

The Narcotics Commissioner had reported that 50,000 people or one in every
five youth, in the age-group of 19-30 -years were drug addicts in Manipur.

As drugs were linked to AIDS the party wanted to create awareness against
the dreaded disease which had afflicted many in Manipur.

The party activists did build a human wall near Gate No. 2 of the Burmese
border in Moreh in protest, but some amount of tension was created because
local Meiteis, who had earlier welcomed them, now wanted them to go back.
Word was spread that the move might lead to the closing of the gates to
Burma which meant making Burmese market and goods in accessible.


October 16, 1997

Moreh, Oct 15:  There was a meeting between authorities of India and Myanmar
at Tamu today to discuss the situation arising out of burning of Market
Complex of Myanmar's Namphalong.
The meeting as held at the local office of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council, SLORC from 11 AM to 1 PM.
The Indian delegation was led by Deputy Commissioner of Chandel, S.
Budhachandra Singh and SP Manglemjao Singh while Myanmarese team was led by
Tamu district SLORC chairman, Lt. Col. Soe Tint.
In the meeting the Myanmarese delegation alleged that the arson and firing
were carried out by 20 to 30 persons and eight of the culprits were Tamils.
They also said three persons sustained bullet injuries in the incident. One
junior immigration official and one Municipal staff, who sustained injuries,
had now been fully recovered. The other injured, a shopkeeper whose
condition had deteriorated had been shifted to Mandalay for further
treatment, they said.
The district Slorc chairman visited Namphalong super Market in the morning
to assess the damage. According to the Myanmarese delegation goods worth
about Rs. 2 crores were destroyed in the fire.. The fire also reduced 365
stalls to ashes.
Later in the day the deputy commissioner Chandel held a meeting with police,
Army, BSF (Border Security Force) and CRPF ( Central Reserve Police Force)
officials to review the situation in Moreh.
Meanwhile, the proposed flag meeting between India and Myanmarese
authorities scheduled for tomorrow to discuss the situation following the
burning of Myanmarese market Complex at Namphalong has been cancelled, adds
our staff reporter in Imphal.
The deputy commissioner of Chandel, S. Budhachandra Singh said
representatives of State Law and Order Restoration Council, Slorc (Burmese
military junta) who came from Saggaing division of the country had returned
back from Tamu, the venue of the proposed meeting.
According to the police, there was no report of any untoward incident at
Moreh and nearby border area during the past 48 hours. However, the security
forces and the police are fully on alert. The incident had severely affected
the border
Business community at Moreh has appealed to the Myanmarese authorities to
open the border as usual to allow free  movement of traders. Myanmar had
sealed the border completely following the incident. 
 October 17, 1997

Moreh, Oct 16:          The Joint Action Committee of Moreh town will
observe a peaceful Moreh bandh tomorrow in protest against the death of C
who was found shot dead at Moreh on October 12 morning.
The bandh will begin at 5 am and will end 5 PM. Essential service, buses and
other vehicles will be  exempted from the bandh, JAC said.
The JAC is demanding Rs. 10,000 as ex-gratia the  death of Karuppaia and the
two missing Meiteis (Manipuri).
Representatives of the JAC and district officials led by  DC S. Budhachandra
Singh held a meeting here this morning. In the meeting the JAC strongly
protested the charge that  the deceased Tamil and other Tamils were involved
in the burning of Manphalonf market shed.
The Myanmese authority is understood to have told authorities at Moreh that
identity of an India nationals who were involved  in the arson had been
established. They also charged that the deceased was involved in the incident.
President of Tamil Sangam, Moreh, K. Monoharan strongly denied involvement
of Tamils in the Namphalong incident.  He also said the Tamil boy who was
found dead was a habitual drunkard and also mentally unsound.
He also described the report that six persons were killed in the Namphalong
incident as baseless.
The president said that Moreh wanted to have good relationship with Myanmar.
He also said following he closure of the border lobourers and small-traders
here were on the verge of starvation as prices had soared beyond common
men's means.
For instance the price of rice has gone up to Rs. 28 per Choi. Before the
incident it was only Rs. 20. There is also scarcity of chicken, fish and mutton.
Source said Myanmarese authorities told its India counterpart that the
market shed would soon be constructed and sought the cooperation of the
later. They also said the border would be sealed for one month.
A JAC member and a representative of the Hill Tribal Council said the dead
body was abandoned at Canan Veng. He however, did not say anything about the
charge that  Kukis were involved in the incident

October 19, 1997
Ralph Bachoe

Ex-Ambassador talks to Aung San Suu Kyi

Former US ambassador to Thailand Morton Abramowitz met with leaders of the
Burmese opposition group in Bangkok on Friday after visiting Singapore,
Burma and Thailand this week to assess the situation in the region.

The Americans planned meeting with Prime Minister General Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh was called off at the last minute.

Mr Abramowitz was accompanied by former ambassador Richard Lee
 Armitage, who served as  Assistant Secretary of Defence for International
Security Affairs in the Pentagon from June 1983 to May 1989; also an
academic and a senior official of the Burma-Myanmar Forum which financed the

The meeting was attended by Tin Maung Win, vice president of the Democratic
Alliance of Burma and Presidium member of the National Council of the Union
of Burma; Teddy Buri and Aung Naing Oo of the foreign affairs department of
NCUB and a senior official of a Mon organisation opposed to the military

Also present were three senior journalists and a representative of the Open
Society Institute, an organisation backed by American philanthropist George

The US delegation after meeting with Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore, arrived in
Rangoon on October 14. The Americans met with Lt Gen Khin  Nyunt,
Secretary-l, on  September 16  before arriving in Bangkok the  same evening.

The American delegation also had a two-hour meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi,
opposition leader of the National League for Democracy.

According to Mr Abramowitz, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt told him dialogue with the NLD
would continue but did not say when. However the general was supposed to
have emphasised that meetings with the opposition, which won a landslide
victory in the 1990 general election, must not include Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr Abramowitz told the group at the Bangkok meeting that he was under the
impression that the generals in Rangoon "disliked" Aung San Suu Kyi.

The former ambassador who is presently acting president of the International
Crisis Group, also thinks that Aung San Suu Kyi has being isolated to the
point that she is unaware of some of the issues going on in Burma. She,
however, is well informed on matters like foreign investment and the
suffering of the people in the country, he said.

He told the Burmese dissident group in Bangkok that like they believe, Aung
San Suu Kyi was also of the same mind that investments in Burma should cease
for the moment because it was not beneficial to the people.

Aung San Suu Kyi also expressed her concern about the future generation,
especially about the students because of the disruption in their education
with the frequent closures of schools and colleges.

According to U Tin Maung Win, Mr Abramowitz said that economic sanctions
would not work because it would not affect the SLORC but the people.
However, U Tin Maung Win and the group stressed that the sanctions would
eventually affect the Burmese military junta.

The group also pointed out the issues of drugs and money laundering in which
the Burmese military elite are involved. Burma watcher Bertil Lintner was
said to have explained convincingly on the issue by producing relevant
documents and news clippings.

Mr Abramowitz said Lt Gen Khin Nyunt had admitted that the military is
involved in drug dealings, but it was at a low level and along the border
areas and the authorities are taking appropriate actions to curb the practice.

However, people like U Tin Maung Win insist that the top military brass is
involved. Said he, "They might not be openly dealing in drugs, but they do
help facilitate the flow of the deadly merchandise [like providing transport]."

He also explained to Mr Abramowitz about the situation in the country
concerning the rampant corruption in Burma, the increase in drug production,
the hardships of the people because of the dire straits of the economy, the
recent floods which has severely affected the crops, and the ever-widening
gap between the rich and the poor. He said a middle class does not exist in

When asked by the Bangkok Post, U Tin Maung Win said that he strongly
believes that unless the results of the 1990 election is honoured and the
military agree to work hand-in-hand with the elected government there would
be no peace in Burma. He added that it is necessary for the military
institution to be involved in nation building and national reconciliation.

The ruling regime, he added, must put an end to all kinds of suppression and
intimidation that goes against democratic principles and practices.


October 18, 1997

(1)             Joint Communique Issued on the Occasion of the State Visit
to the Union of Myanmar of His Excellency Fidel V Ramos,       President of
the Republic of the Philippines

                During the visit, the following Agreements and Memoranda
were signed:

                (a) Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission of
Bilateral Cooperation;

                (b) Trade Agreement;

                (c) Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation Against Illicit
Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and  Abuses
thereof; and

                (d) Memorandum of Understanding on the Promotion of
Technical Cooperation in Forestry and Forest Industries Development, it is

(2)             Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications Introduces CDMA
Telephone  System in Yangon

                `Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication opened a ceremony to
introduce CDMA telephone system in Bahan Township (Yangon). Speaking on the
occasions, Minister for Communications, Posts and Telegraphs U Soe Tha said
the CDMA system introduced today has 1,000 lines at Shwegondine Station and
another 2,000 lines at a communication station in Pabedan Township (Yangon).
Each station has a ten-mile communication radius, affecting 22 townships in
Yangon Division. There are 88,000 phone lines and 21 exchange stations in
Yangon, he said. Work is in progress installing communication equipment in 

(3)             Myanma Insurance, Mitsui Marine and Fire Insurance Company
Ltd of Japan Agree to Form Joint Venture
                Myanma Insurance Mitsui Marine and Fire Insurance Company
Ltd of Japan signed an MoU on 17 October to form Myanmar Mitsui Joint
Venture Insurance Company.

(4)             MSE, CAMC Agree to Build Two 2,000-ton Sugar Mills
                Myanmar Sugacane Enterprise and China National Construction and
Agricultural Machinery Import and Export Coporation (CAMC) of People's
Republic of China on 17 October signed contract to build two 2,000-ton
capacity sugar mills in Myanmar. The ministry is planning to build ten sugar
mills and the present two are the eight and the ninth.

(5)             Indonesia Donates Cash for Flood Victims
                Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Mr A Poerwato
Lenggono  called Minister for Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement Maj-Gen
Soe Myint at his office. Mr Poerwato Lenggono presented cash to Maj-Gen Soe
Myint for Myanmar flood victims.


October 17, 1997

On the 24th of October AI Alkmaar organizes a forum/discussion meeting on
the subject of refugees, asylum procedures and the situation of Burmese
refugees in the Thai/Burma border area.
Speakers will be Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein (NCGUB), Mrs. P. Catz (AI Netherlands,
refugee department), Mr. van Driel (lawyer specialised in asylum procedures)
and Mr. Wesseling (IND, Foreign Affairs Netherlands). Two Burmese artists
will perform for the audience. The meeting will start at 7:00 pm. Location
is the Remonstrant Church, Fnidsen 35/37, Alkmaar, the Netherlands.
By inviting several organisations and institutes as well as the City Council
of Alkmaar Amnesty International Alkmaar aims to start a wide ranged
discussion and further action.
Interested organisations and individuals are welcome to attend the meeting
and contribute to the discussion.
For further information:
Amnesty International Alkmaar,
Tel/Fax: +31 (0)72 5121294 or email: <ajsloot@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>


October 18, 1997

			Occasional Seminar Series
      			  presented a forum on 

	The First Australian Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper

		presented by The Hon. Alexander Downer MHR
		Minister for Foreign Affairs
		and including comments from

Peter Hartcher, Asia-Pacific Editor
Australian Financial Review

Catherina Toh, Corporate Counsel
County Natwest Australia Ltd

Monday 27th October 1997
6.30 pm sharp

Coles Theatre, Melbourne Business School, 200 Leicester Street, Carlton, 
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Australia's first ever White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy reinforced 
the notion that our economic and strategies survival is inextricably 
linked with the Asia Pacific region. Tabled by the Government in 
parliament last month, the report found that Asia was now our highest 

The White Paper, In The National Interest, presents the principles and 
priorities shaping our Government's foreign affairs and trade policy and 
identifies globalisation and the economic rise of East Asia as key points 
of influence. It identifies China, Japan, Indonesia and the US as our 
four key international relationships.

The paper supports trade liberalisation through APEC and the WTO and 
notes that this will bring long term employment gains.

What are the implications for Australia' trade and industry? How will the 
government implement the White Paper's policy prescription? Why is 
government's China policy in the national interest? Will East Asia engage 
us? How will direct pursuit of the national interest impact on our 
multilateral relations and notions of Australia as a good international 

Our panel of presenters will disseminate issues arising from the White 
Paper and discuss its strategic importance.

Admission $10.00, Students (with ID) and University of Melbourne staff 
$5.00, Free to Evening Seminar Series Associates and Asialink Circle Members

Please RSVP (aaceptance only) to Elaine Kininmonth at Asialink
Tel: (03) 93491899
Fax: (03) 93471768