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/* Written 24 Oct 12:00am 1997 by drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Letter from President Ramos' Office "--------------- */

As we all know, President Ramos recently visited Rangoon and kindly made
efforts to persuade parties to the hostilities in Burma make reconciliation.
I along with many Burmese people are very grateful to President Ramos
for his help. SLORC, perhaps, now is getting clear message that the
reconciliation and political dialogue with the opposition is the only way
to go forward.

The ASEAN member states appears to have some reservations about persuading
Thailand to allow international protection for Burma's refugees. As is in
the case of the Philippines in following communication, ASEAN states tends
to make excuse that issues such as the protection for Refugees are some
'internal matters' of the state concerned. This simply is not true: the
matters concerning internationally displaced people in general and refugees
in particular are of legitimate concerns to the international community.
As has been reflected in the Statute of UNHCR, all governments are called
upon to co-operate with HCR in performing the functions of UNHCR. In any
case, matters regarding refugees are primarily of humanitarian in nature
and the ASEAN states should not unduly sensitive about addressing such

Regarding protection of Burma's refugees in Thailand, the main
responsibility rest upon the Royal Thai Government. The Thai Government
should formally raise this Burma's refugees matters at the UNGA and give
UNHCR protection for Burmese refugees in Thailand. Ongoing helps from all
our friends in regards to persuading Thailand in these matters are greatly
appreciated. --- With best regards, U Ne Oo.
Office of the President
of the Philippines

September 24, 1997.

Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA
5042 Australia

Dear Sir:

Thank you very much for writing early this month to His Excellency,
President Fidel V. Ramos.

We deeply admire you for your work as an advocate for Burmese refugees.
Indeed such is a noble work deserving of the highest praise and

We regret to inform you, however, that the Philippines as an independent
nation cannot meddle with the affairs of other sovereign nations like
Myanmar and Thailand. To do so would be repugnant to the sovereign equality
of nations, a basic principle of international law. Unless and until the
legitimate governments of these countries formally ask the Philippines'
intervention, our government cannot even lift a finger as the issue
involves an internal conflict of which the Philippines is not a proper
party. Membership in the ASEAN may only be invoked when the issue involved
is bilateral or multilateral. Such membership cannot legalize the
Philippines' encroachment on purely intra-national matters.

Allow us to thank you again, in closing, and wish you all the best in your
noble work.

Sincerely yours,
Sd. Maria ASuncion Fernanndo
Director IV
Correspondence Office
/* Endreport */