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Reuters-Singapore says not contacte

Subject: Reuters-Singapore says not contacted on Myanmar aid plan 

Singapore says not contacted on Myanmar aid plan
07:20 a.m. Nov 27, 1998 Eastern
SINGAPORE, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Singapore said on Friday it was puzzled by
reports it was expected to contribute funds to a plan to aid Myanmar through
the World Bank.

``We are ... puzzled by reports that Singapore is expected to contribute to
funds that would be funnelled to Myanmar through the World Bank,'' a
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman said in a written statement.

The International Herald Tribune reported on Thursday that the Bank and the
United Nations were in secret negotiations with Myanmar's government and
opposition leaders over a $1.0-billion aid plan.

The financial and humanitarian aid would go to the country's military regime
in exchange for its opening a dialogue with the opposition, the paper said.

It also reported the bulk of the funds would come from Japan, ``with
additional assistance expected from Australia and Singapore.''

Responding to media queries, the MFA spokesman said ``neither the World Bank
nor the United Nations has approached Singapore regarding the proposal to
offer development assistance to Myanmar.''

Yangon-based diplomats told Reuters on Friday the United Nations was seeking
ways to overcome the political stalemate in Myanmar, where the pro-democracy
opposition is being stifled by the military government.

But one diplomat said the newspaper report was ``too far ahead of the
game,'' adding that ``there have been discussions on such a concept,'' but
not in great detail.