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The BurmaNet News: July 29, 1998 (P
- Subject: The BurmaNet News: July 29, 1998 (P
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 07:07:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: July 29, 1998
Issue #1059 (Part 1 of 2)
Noted in Passing: "Intensity level inside is back to 88 level. People here
really believe something is gonna happen, good or bad, peaceful or bloody."
-- A Burma Watcher, Rangoon (see ANNOUNCEMENT: FBC CALL TO ACTION)
REUTERS: SUU KYI IN FIFTH DAY OF CAR PROTEST
BBC: PILGER ON DAW SUU'S STANDOFF
NCUB: STATEMENT ON BLOCKING OF DASSK BY SPDC
DPNS: STATEMENT ON RESTRICTIONS AGAINST FREEDOM
REUTERS: LEADING POWERS WARN MYANMAR ON SUU KYI
THE ASIAN AGE (NEW DELHI): SUU KYI COLLUDING WITH WEST
BKK POST: BLOODLESS UPRISING ENJOINED ON BURMESE
BKK POST: SUPPORT FOR THE JUNTA IS UNTENABLE
BKK POST: BID TO BREAK BURMA IMPASSE
FBC-AUSTRALIA: CALL FOR MEDIA AND DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE
INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE (BOOK): MYANMAR (CHAPTER)
ANNOUNCEMENT: FBC CALL TO ACTION
REUTERS: SUU KYI IN FIFTH DAY OF STANDOFF
28 July, 1998 by Rajan Moses
BANGKOK, July 28 (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
spent a fifth day in her car on Tuesday as the military refused to let her
proceed to visit party supporters in a town outside the capital Yangon.
The United States, Japan and other countries stepped up pressure on the
junta, saying they didn't want the situation to escalate and expressing
concern over Suu Kyi's health and safety.
The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) accused Suu Kyi of
deliberately seeking confrontation and said she was pushing them into
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) said in a statement in Yangon
that she and three others with her were running out of drinking water. The
statement said the government would be held responsible if their health
But the SPDC disputed the claim.
``She's still there. They asked for drinking water and we provided that.
But they have enough food and a week's supply of chocolates, bread and
other food with them,'' a government spokesman told Reuters by telephone
Security men blocked the car carrying Suu Kyi, senior party member U Hla Pe
and two drivers at bridge near Anyarsu Village about 64 km (40 miles) from
Yangon on Friday morning.
They were heading for Pathein township, in Ayeryarwaddy division, to meet
Negotiators from the SPDC asked Suu Kyi to return to Yangon, but she has
refused and, the government says, is unwilling to negotiate.
But the NLD said: ``The news that the general secretary (Suu Kyi) refuses
to talk is not true at all...it is groundless since she usually welcomes
``The matter concerning the general secretary and her party's trip to
Pathein will be smoothly resolved by opening negotiations,'' it added.
The government said it was unfortunate the NLD leadership had adopted a
``There has been maximum restraint being exercised in resolving the issues
of conflicts and confrontations,'' it said in a statement. ``But deliberate
confrontation by the NLD to force the government to inescapably react needs
to be realistically scrutinised and, more importantly, stopped.''
Diplomats at a meeting in Manila of the Association of South East Asian
Nations, of which Myanmar is a member, said officials of the United States,
the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea and Australia
had confronted Myanmar's foreign minister during an informal gathering on
They expressed concern about Suu Kyi's health and stressed ``they don't
want this to escalate and that this incident needs to be resolved,'' a U.S.
The SPDC has called the U.S. criticism a superpower witch hunt.
The government said Suu Kyi was stopped because she did not have her
personal security team with her and it was concerned she might be harmed by
anti-government elements, leaving authorities open to blame.
It also accused her of trying to foment dissent ahead of the planned
reopening next month of universities and other institutions, closed in
December 1996 after student unrest.
A defiant Suu Kyi, who has been sitting in the car most of the time with
few short breaks to stretch her legs, has refused to budge.
Video footage, apparently shot from a moving vehicle last weekend, showed
Suu Kyi's white car parked on a wooden bridge adjacent to the road where
she was stopped.
An ambulance and a medical team were on standby in the area and Myanmar Red
Cross officials were on hand to provide humanitarian assistance, the
government spokesman said.
The NLD and the government both said Suu Kyi's personal physicians had
given her a check up.
``We would like to urge the authorities to allow the general secretary and
party to proceed with their desired trip peacefully before their health is
affected,'' the NLD said.
The government spokesman said authorities were more worried about her
security. ``She's a sitting target in the open like this.''
Asked when the stand-off might be resolved, he said: ``We won't impose
physical force to get her to return to Yangon. We hope that she comes to
her senses and realises that this is a futile way of politicking.
``But there are limits -- just as anywhere in the world -- over how much
trouble a person can stir up before the authorities may need to enforce
laws to ensure peace and stability.''
Tensions between the SPDC and the NLD escalated after Suu Kyi urged the
government to convene by August 21 a parliament comprising members elected
in May 1990. The NLD swept that poll but the military has ignored it.
Observer said Suu Kyi was showing the world her movements were being
restricted. ``But at this stage it's a stalemate,'' a diplomat said.
BBC: PILGER ON DAW SUU'S STANDOFF
28 July, 1998
The World Today
Nik Gowing: ... Ms. Suu Kyi has been stuck in her car since Friday at a
police roadblock outside Rangoon. The U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright has said the United States will hold the Burmese military
responsible for Ms. Suu Kyi's health and welfare. Senior foreign
diplomats, including those from the European Union, Japan and Australia
have also warned Burma not to escalate a standoff with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Well, Simon [Mercep] now reports on Burma's increasing international
Simon Mercep: The bridge is 26 km northwest of the Burmese capital,
Rangoon, and inside the car, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She's
been there since Friday. Local people report she has run out of food and
water and officials from her party are concerned she may collapse.
Several figures have taken up position in front of the car. Foreign
diplomats say Burma's government is blocking Ms. Suu Kyi from visiting
supporters outside the capital. This is at least the third time in recent
weeks that the Nobel Peace laureate has been prevented from leaving
Rangoon. The government said that she is not under house arrest but is
being monitored for her own protection.
The treatment of Ms. Suu Kyi has drawn fresh criticism from the
international community. A group of foreign ministers, including those
from the United States, the European Union and Japan, has met the Burmese
foreign minister at the ASEAN meeting in the Philippines. The group called
for urgent action to resolve the standoff with Ms. Suu Kyi and to grant her
freedom of movement.
Yesterday the American Secretary of State said the United States would hold
Burma responsible for Ms. Suu Kyi's health and welfare. Madeleine Albright
also said Burma was heading for a breakdown and a possible social
explosion. But Burma's leaders said Washington's accusations over Ms. Suu
Kyi were typical of the way a superpower acted out simultaneously the roles
of judge, jury and executioner. Simon Mercep, BBC News.
Nik Gowing: Well joining me now is the journalist and filmmaker John
Pilger, who's traveled widely throughout Asia and has made many television
documentaries about Cambodia, Indonesia as well as Burma. His latest
documentary about events in Rangoon is being shown on British television
tonight. Welcome, John Pilger. When you last saw Aung San Suu Kyi -- you
can't get back into the country at the moment -- she was worried that Burma
was slipping from the headlines. What has been going on while all this has
John Pilger: I think what's been going on is a confrontation, an
extraordinary confrontation, between this lone woman and the regime. For
the last couple of years she's been calling for the help of the
international community to impose sanctions on the regime, to really side
with her as effectively the elected leader of the country, but it's been an
extraordinary face-off between this woman, and her supporters, but mainly
this woman on her own and the regime, and there you see these remarkable
pictures of her sitting in a car --
Nik Gowing: Now it's ironic that this is happening actually at a time when
your documentary's going out, because what you are highlighting is the fact
that despite all the warnings about Rangoon and Burma, actually there's a
lot of doublespeak at the international level.
John Pilger: There's a huge amount of doublespeak. For instance, in this
country, the New Labour government came in with what they called "an
ethical foreign policy." They promised sanctions against Burma in
opposition; the moment they got in the government they forgot about
sanctions, and there's an interview in my film with the Foreign Office
Minister Derek Thatcher, who's in Manila at the moment, no doubt explaining
to the rest of the ASEAN trading bloc why all of them aren't bringing real
economic pressure on Burma. You see, ASEAN invited the SLORC, the regime
in Burma, to be a member of the ASEAN group, and so they're all speaking
with forked tongue here, because one of their trading partners is Burma.
At the same time, they're criticizing the regime.
Nik Gowing: But several large multinationals have disinvested from Burma.
John Pilger: Yes, they have. The Texaco oil company did, for instance,
and into their place went the British oil company Premier Oil, which is now
one of the biggest players in Burma and is part of a $700 million
consortium building another pipeline. And there's no doubt that the
profits from that project will enrich a regime, and you must remember this
is a regime 60 percent of its national budget goes on the military, goes on
the very tools of oppression. So any involvement by oil companies like
Premier, or like Total, the French company, Unocal, the American company,
they're all in there, can only help to prop up the regime.
Nik Gowing: Well, briefly, you've heard what Madeleine Albright said at
this meeting in the Philippines of ASEAN warning that there's actually
political and social instability ahead. Do you think we've got to that
stage in Burma?
John Pilger: I think it's been to that stage for quite a while. One of
the reasons that the government in Britain refused to impose sanctions is
that they say the situation hasn't deteriorated enough --
Nik Gowing: Hasn't deteriorated enough?
John Pilger: -- Enough! You know, there was Daw San San, a Rangoon MP,
was given 25 years recently effectively for giving an interview to the BBC.
They didn't say as much, but that was the reason behind it. Now here you
have a Kafkaesque, vicious regime -- this should be the lowest benchmark
for any ethical foreign policy, any real action by the international
community. I think the sound and fury should end and there should be action.
Nik Gowing: Do you think, briefly, the images like we've just seen,
[grabbed] with that car with Aung San Suu Kyi in it on her fifth day -- do
you that actually does actually impinge at all on government, on their
John Pilger: I don't think governments have consciences, and I think that
when their power is threatened and there is a great deal of embarrassment,
and I think Suu Kyi is once again embarrassing them with her extraordinary
moral stance on behalf of her people -- it's time for full sanctions
against Burma, it's time for governments to say to their oil companies,
"Get out. This regime is a pariah regime, and it's time to support the
elected leader of that country, which is Aung San Suu Kyi."
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE UNION OF BURMA (NCUB): STATEMENT ON BLOCKING OF
DASSK BY SPDC
27 July, 1998
Since 24-7-98, the SPDC has been blocking the way of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
General Secretary of the NLD, who was travelling to Bassein, at Anyazu
village near Nyaungdon town. This is third time that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
has been obstructed in her movement, illegally, by the SPDC, within a span
of 22 days.
1. The obstruction of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been an extreme act of
lawlessness or indecency, on the part of SPDC. For that reason, we, the
NCUB, strongly protest and condemn the act.
2. The SPDC and its lackeys, the USDA, have been systematically
obstructing, intimidating and trying to harm Daw Suu physically, by various
means. The SPDC and its lackeys must be held totally responsible, if these
acts affect the health or cause bodily harm or endanger the life of Daw Suu.
3. At the same time as the SPDC and its lackeys are obstructing and
intimidating Daw Suu, they are spreading the false propaganda and
accusation that she is bent on confrontation, or creating tension and
instability in the country. Confrontational situation, or the instability
and tension in the country are caused neither by Daw Suu, the NLD led by
Daw Suu, the students, the Buddhist monks nor the general public. They are
caused entirely by the power-mad SPDC military. It must take all the
responsibility for the deteriorating situation.
4. As a matter of urgency, we, the NCUB, would like to urge the people,
comprising of various nationalities, the students, Buddhist monks,
patriotic political parties, patriotic personages, patriotic members of the
armed forces, civil servants, workers, farmers and the intellectuals to
raise the struggle against the SPDC military and to unanimously assist and
support Daw Suu. At the same time, we would like to call upon all the
democratic governments of the world, the people, the NGOs to denounce the
barbarous acts the SPDC and pressure it for the resolution of political
problems by political means.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR A NEW SOCIETY (DPNS): STATEMENT ON RESTRICTIONS
AGAINST FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IN BURMA
27 July, 1998
1. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been stopped and held under "car arrest" for
three days by the military regime near Anyar Su village of Nyaung Don
township during the NLD organising trip to Irrawaddy Delta division.
2. The SPDC has accused the NLD of creating political instability in the
country and has threatened Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's security merely because
the NLD is trying to fulfill the desires of the people.
3. NLD key activists from the area where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is being
held; have been arrested and the homes of two NLD MPs of Nyaung Don have
been surrounded by the security forces. Villagers who have tried to send
food to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have been blocked and threatened by the military.
4. Actions such as these, prove that the regime has already decided to
crush all legal activities of political parties and ignore the calls of the
people of Burma and the international community for political dialogue as
the only way to solve the political problems of Burma . The restrictive
reactions of the authorities would seem to indicate that they themselves
are intent on creating a social explosion within Burma as well as political
instability in the region.
5. However, we, the political organisations and the people of Burma, still
hope for a peaceful transition to a democratic Burma through political
dialogue. However, since all the conditions are being laid down by the SPDC
who have refused the peaceful, political dialogue; the people of Burma may
take their democratic demands and call for human rights to the streets as
in the 1988 democratic upheaval.
6. We strongly want to urge the international community
i) to monitor the daily situation inside Burma and to take responsibility
for the security of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
ii) to insist that the SPDC enter the dialogue process in order to convene
the 1990 elected parliament.
iii) to prevent further killings on the streets by the military.
Central Committee Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS)
REUTERS: LEADING POWERS WARN MYANMAR ON SUU KYI
28 July, 1998 by Carol Giacomo
MANILA, July 28 (Reuters) - Leading powers on Tuesday warned Myanmar
against allowing a standoff with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to
escalate and offered to help in resolving tensions in the Southeast Asian
country, U.S. officials said.
Diplomats said the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia,
Japan, New Zealand and South Korea confronted Myanmar's foreign minister
during an informal meeting on the fringes of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual conference.
The minister, U Ohn Gyaw, was instructed to take the firm message back to
Yangon and the international community expected a response, diplomats said.
``A number of foreign ministers felt it was important while gathered in one
place to talk about the situation (in Myanmar with Suu Kyi) first amongst
themselves and then with the Burmese foreign minister,'' a senior U.S.
official told reporters.
He said the ministers expressed concern about the National League for
Democracy leader's health and stressed ``the fact that they don't want this
to escalate and that this incident needs to be resolved.''
For the fifth day, Suu Kyi remained in a car on a road outside the capital
of Yangon because the ruling military junta has refused to let her travel
to meet other members of her party, which won an election in 1990 but has
not been allowed to take office.
U.S. officials said she had her first direct contact with the military
since the incident began when she got out of the car on Tuesday to ask for
water and was given it. But it did not appear a dialogue or negotiation was
under way, they said.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Monday expressed grave
concerns about the Nobel Peace Prize winner's health and said the military
junta would be held directly responsible for her wellbeing. On Tuesday,
Albright reported that ``her health is okay.''
A senior U.S. official said the opposition leader was seen by two
physicians and ``there are no problems that we know of,'' although concerns
remain because she has been in the car in the blistering heat.
The ministers told their Myanmar counterpart they want permission for
diplomats based in Yangon to visit Suu Kyi and talk to her ``and see if
there is any way the international community can be helpful in brokering a
solution,'' the U.S. official said.
Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, representing the European
Union, said they had called for the American and Japanese ambassadors in
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to undertake this mission.
ASEAN nations -- Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos,
Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei -- were not included in the session with the
Myanmar minister. ``This was a conscious decision not to put the ASEANS on
the spot,'' an American official said.
In addition to humanitarian concerns about Suu Kyi's health, the ministers
argued that as a matter of principle citizens of Myanmar should be able to
And they also drove home their consistent call for a dialogue between the
military authorities and the opposition to resolve the country's political
stalemate, officials said.
Albright, in a speech on Monday, warned of the increasing possibility of a
political ``explosion'' in Myanmar that could undermine regional stability.
She said conditions in Myanmar -- including repression, a declining
economy, narcotics trafficking and an AIDS epidemic -- had worsened in the
past year. ``This is a moment of truth and of urgency for Burma and for all
of us concerned about its fate,'' she added.
Yangon's military government hit back at Albright, saying the U.S.
``accusations, allegations and condemnations thrown against Myanmar is a
typical way of a sole superpower carrying out a witch hunt.''
But the United States has not been alone in its attacks on the military
regime. At the Manila meeting the European Union and Australia, among
others, have expressed serious concern over human rights in Myanmar, where
the military crushed a pro-democracy movement a decade ago with the loss of
On the session with the Myanmar foreign minister, Canadian Foreign Minister
Don McKinnon said: ``We made it clear there is an urgent need to resolve
the situation and allow Aung San Suu Kyi freedom of movement within her own
``We would like once again to strongly appeal to the leadership in
Yangon/Rangoon to enter into a result-oriented dialogue with the
opposition,'' Schuessel told the foreign ministers of the nine-member
Association of South East Asian Nations.
Delegates at the Manila conference on Asian security issues have depicted
Myanmar's foreign minister as a lonely man who seldom speaks.
``I think Burma is pretty isolated. Even the other ASEAN countries don't
understand them,'' one European diplomat told Reuters.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon, who chaired the conference
here, on Monday recalled how Filipinos had used a ``people power''
revolution to overthrow a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, in 1986.
He told a news conference: ``I lamented the other day the presence of many
well-educated Burmese who studied abroad but they are not in the country.
They are staying out as life abroad is good. Now I said if you are really
serious and wanting to change the situation in the country you should back
and change it from within.''
Referring to the Philippine experience, Siazon added: ``Of course you
risked life and limb, but that is part of the process.''
THE ASIAN AGE (NEW DELHI): SUU KYI COLLUDING WITH WEST: JUNTA
28 July, 1998
Bangkok, July 27: As Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi spent a fourth day
stuck in a car on a rural highway surrounded by government security
personnel, a Burmese government spokesman accused her of colluding with
Western embassies to put pressure on the military regime.
Suu Kyi was stopped by local authorities on Friday morning about 51 km west
of Rangoon as she attempted to drive to Bassein, 160 km west of the
capital, to meet members of her political party, the National League for
They refused to let her proceed and she has refused to return to Rangoon.
She, a colleague and two drivers have spent three nights in the car and
were preparing to spend a fourth.
A government officer said he believed she had enough food and water to
spend a week in the car.
A government spokesman called the episode a publicity stunt and said the
1991 Nobel Peace prizewinner was being helped by Western embassies. (AP)
THE BANGKOK POST: BLOODLESS UPRISING ENJOINED ON BURMESE
28 July, 1998
SIAZON SAYS 1986 EVENTS ARE THE MODEL
The people of Burma should emulate a bloodless uprising in the Philippines
that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, Philippine Foreign
Secretary Domingo Siazon said yesterday.
Mr. Siazon urged educated Burmese who studied abroad to return home and
carry on the fight for democratic reforms instead of letting "this battle
be taken up by other countries".
In a news conference at the close of a regional security forum in Manila,
he lamented "the presence of so many well-educated Burmese who studied
abroad but they are not in the country."
He said these people were "staying out because life abroad is good. So I
said if you are really sincere in wanting to change the situation in the
country you should go home and change it from within."
Mr Siazon said the fight for democratic reforms in Burma should be fought
by the people there "in the same sense that we here in the Philippines,
when we had to overthrow a dictatorship, the Filipino people rose up".
"Of course, you risk life and limb but that's part of the process," he
said, referring to the 1986 military-led civilian uprising that overthrew
the 20-year rule of President Marcos.
The uprising was triggered by the assassination in 1983 of popular
opposition leader Benigno Aquino on his return from self-exile in the
United States to unite the political opposition against Mr. Marcos.
Meanwhile, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi continued a fourth
day in her car at a southwestern village yesterday to protest against moves
to stop her from meeting party members, a source close to her party said.
The National League for Democracy party leader has refused to budge from
the spot where she was stopped early on Friday in Anyarsu about 64
kilometres from Rangoon and rejected a request by the ruling military junta
that she go back to her home in Rangoon.
"She is still there," a source close to the NLD told Reuters.
An official of the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) said
on Sunday that Aung San Suu Kyi had refused to answer questions from
security men and declined to return home.
"We attempted to talk to her seven times on Sunday but there was no
answer," said the official.
Late on Sunday, witnesses saw the NLD leader sitting in her white sedan
with two drivers. Security men were in the area and an ambulance was parked
nearby. Officials said the ambulance was there for use in case of any
The NLD said on Sunday the government would be held responsible if
something went wrong with her health because of her car sit-in. But a
security official said she probably had dry rations such as biscuits to eat.
The NLD had said on Friday that she was on her way to a western township to
meet party supporters when she was stopped. This was the third time she was
blocked from making trips to townships after being stopped on July 7 and 20.
THE BANGKOK POST: SUPPORT FOR THE JUNTA IS UNTENABLE
28 July, 1998
For the third time in as many weeks, the Rangoon junta has prevented Aung
Sun Suu Kyi from meeting opposition colleagues outside the capital. The
policy of constructive-engagement is being shown to be as wobbly as the
junta's hold on power and appreciation of reality.
While Asean foreign ministers agonised about appropriate terminology for
measures against misbehaving members, Aung San Suu Kyi was spending her
nights in her car surrounded by barbed wire, sandbags and soldiers. At
issue at the 31st summit of the Association of Southeast Nations in Manila
was the future of constructive engagement, a policy that Mrs Suu Kyi knows
to be worthless.
It was a year ago this month that the regional grouping admitted Burma in
the expectation the Rangoon junta would moderate its behaviour in gratitude
for the degree of legitimacy offered by membership. It would have been
reasonable to expect the new member to take extra care to abide by the
rules of the club: Not so Burma. The uncomfortable sleeping arrangements
forced upon Mrs Suu Kyi 50km west of Rangoon demonstrate once more that the
newest member holds rules of common decency in contempt.
Much of the discussion in Manila dealt with the way in which neighbours
could conduct themselves. Burma apologists in Asean, such as Indonesia,
stand by constructive engagement, which means that privacy is of the utmost
importance. For example, a good neighbour is one who pretends he has not
seen the bully next door set about the wife and kids with a baseball bat.
Pals of the junta, such as Ali Alatas, the Indonesian foreign minister,
would have us believe that the bully is entitled to do what likes in the
privacy of his own home. It is not that simple though. Over the years, the
actions of the bully in question have driven hundreds of thousands of
people to seek refuge in places such as Thailand. If Indonesia bordered
Burma, Mr Alatas might take a different view, but it doesn't and he won't.
The uncomfortable nights Mrs Suu Kyi has spent in her car illustrate
another way in which the policy is deeply flawed and Asean morally wrong to
have embraced it in the first place. It is surely impossible for a policy
of non-interference to favour one side over another. It is shameful that
the policy forced upon Asean by its more politically retarded members
recognises the illegitimate bully that is the junta at the expense of the
National League for Democracy, which won the 1990 general election by a
The chief beneficiary of the policy, it should be mentioned, is a military
old guard driven increasingly to paranoia and raving by the power of
reasoned argument. The junta that murdered thousands of civilians in 1988
accuses Mrs Suu Kyi of being "bull-headed" and lacking "humanitarian
vision" because she has had the temerity to be forced to spend several
nights in a ear by the roadside. Mrs Suu Kyi is conspiring to "portray
Burma as a lawless and unstable country where the democratic forces are
The Philippines and Thailand must press on with their efforts to induce
Asean to understand that it makes more sense to engage with the
democratically elected representatives of the Burmese people than to expect
reason from a paranoid regime on the verge of dribbling senility.
Deluded though the junta may be, it is clear by its actions and statements
that it knows that the forces of democracy will one day prevail. When that
day comes, it will be stuck for excuses, and so will Asean for its support
over the years of a shabby policy and a shabbier regime.
THE BANGKOK POST: BID TO BREAK BURMA IMPASSE
28 July, 1998 by Nussara Sawatsawang
FOREIGN MINISTER URGES COMPROMISE
German Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer yesterday urged the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union to break a
deadlock over the question of the inclusion of Burma in the two regional
He said both regions must find "a pragmatic way" to addressing the Burma
issue, which brought about a collapse in the Asean-EU cooperation committee
meeting in Bangkok last November.
"We should stay away from the fundamental position because this will not
change the situation in Myanmar [Burma] at all. But [we should] explore the
way and means for the pragmatic progress," he said.
"Myanmar is not the least lift up to the expectation expressed the European
Union," he added, but acknowledged that the Asean-EU bitter feud was "a
very difficult process".
Mr Hoyer said he was expecting "initiatives" from the Asean side in
breaking the deadlock.
Mr Hoyer's comment came on the eve of today's Asean-EU annual discussion
which was held as part of the post ministerial conference between Asean and
its major trading partners.
Burma and Laos joined Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam as members of Asean Last year. Asean
upheld the "non-discrimination" principle, demanding that Burmese
representatives attend the Asean-EU cooperation dialogue at the "same
level" as other partners.
But the EU withdrew from the scheduled meeting, demanding that Rangoon
should be allowed to attend the meeting with "a passive manner" due to the
military government's much-maligned human rights record.
FBC-AUSTRALIA: CALL FOR MEDIA AND DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE IN BURMA
29 July, 1998 from azappia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
For Immediate Release
The Australia Burma Council (ABC) calls for media and diplomatic presence
Journalists of the world can protect the people of Burma
At a time when ASEAN meetings in Manila are bringing much media attention
to Burma and the region Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the
National League for Democracy (NLD) is risking her life. 80 hours after
being stopped by police, on her way to meet with NLD members, she remains
in her private car refusing medical attention from anyone except her own
doctor. Please see NCGUB Statements for further details.
Secretary of State, USA, Madeleine Albright has said Burma is on the verge
While nations of the world confront Burma's Foreign Minister, U Ohn Gyaw,
with ultimatums and diplomacy in Manila there is a crisis mounting in
Burma. In 1988 as many as 10,000 demonstrators were massacred, incarcerated
or simply disappeared never to be heard of again. There is an enormous
risk that this may happen again if NLD supporters take to the streets in to
support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of the 1988 massacres the ABC urges all
national and international media to do all possible to get into Burma,
further, we ask that diplomats in Rangoon continue an increasing presence
around Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her compound, NLD headquarters and any other
vulnerable location. It is most likely that a military crackdown would
occur away from observation, therefore, media and diplomats should also
attempt to go far beyond Rangoon.
It is also vital that those unable to travel watch and report as events
unfold in Burma. In 1988 the only media of the massacres was a video
smuggled out by the wife of Australian Ambassador of the day, Mr
Christopher Lamb, Mrs Gaye Lamb.
This is a desperate plea from people of Burma residing in Australia, please
In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Massacres in Burma there
will be a demonstration outside the SLORC Embassy, Arkana Street
Yarralumla, ACT Saturday the 8th August at 12.00 Mid day. Please be there.
For further information: Amanda Zappia: NCGUB, FTUB and the ABC Tel: (02)
9297 7734 or (02) 6297 4801 Minn Aung Myint: Burma Office, Sydney Mobile
041 2230 737
Free Burma Coalition, Australia
Working for the: National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
Federation of Trade Unions, Burma Australia Burma Council
PO Box 2024, Queanbeyan NSW 2620 Ph: +61-2-6297-7734 Fax: +61-2-6297-7773
(End Part 1 of 2)