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FT on Nyunt, Clinton and drugs

Financial Times (William Barnes, Bangkok)
October 28 1998
Butma intelligence chief tightens hold on power 
(France pressures EU against investman ban)

The creation of a new 'political committee' in Burma headed by general
Khin Nyunt may be designed to tighten
the powerful intelligence chief's grip on future political moves.

The 16-strong 'research and analysis' board includes the home,
information and education ministers, and
several of Khin Nyunt 's close colleagues. Military intelligence
oversees Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, and other members of
the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The intelligence chief is no political liberal, but even his critics
recognize that by the junta's standards he is a wily pragmatist. He is
widely viewed as heir apparent to the former dictator Ne Win, 87, who is
thought to retain considerable influence over the regime.

But Khin Nyunt remains part of a core leadership that still appears to
operate by consensus, despite the strain of dire economic problems. 

" The committee's formation is the most important military move since
the junta pruned its members late last
year,' Chao-Tzang (sic) Yawnghwe at the University of British Columbia.

Some observers point out that the intelligence chief heads many
committees, apparently on behalf of the

European Union foreign ministers cited a 'deteriorating internal
situation' when they
renewed, and slightly tightened sanctions on Monday. A ban on visas for
Burmese leaders, the 
military and their families was extended to tourism officials.

"In the present situation, it is inappropirate for tourists to visit
Burma," an EU statement said. New investment was discussed but not
banned after objections
from France.

Alvaro de Soto, United Nations assistant secretary-general, will meet
Khin Nyunt today after arriving for his fifth visit since 1995.

The Burmese government said yesterday it had released another 34 of Ms
Suu Kyi's supporters.

re the US drug strategy, what is said here for Columbia goes down in

The same October 28 dail FT paper reported, in another story "Pastrana
sets out to sell his Marshall Plan to US" (Andam Thomson) reports that
"the Columbian president has underscored the need for both counttries to
reconsider strategies for eliminating drug production, which have so far
centered(sic) almost exclusively on spraying illegal crops. Despite
record levels of spraying during the last four years -- funded in large
part by about $100 million 
a year of US taxpayers money -- the amount of land dedicated to
producing illicit crops is growing."

"The figures we are seeing clearly demonstrate that (spraying) has not
worked," Mr Pastrana said recently. 
Four years ago there were 40,000 hectares of coca plantations and now
there are 80,000 hectares. Something is going wrong."

You might find this on the FT.com site, if interested.