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SPDC FM to be in Singapore

FEB 16 1999

                   Myanmar ForeignMinister to visit  Singapore


                   MYANMAR Foreign Minister Win Aung arrives in Singapore on
                   Thursday for a two-day visit, his first to the Republic
since taking up the
                   post last November. His visit, at the invitation of
Foreign Affairs Minister
                   S. Jayakumar, is in keeping with the tradition of
                   ministers from the grouping calling on their counterparts
shortly after
                   taking office. 

                   The 54-year-old Mr Win Aung, who served in Myanmar's
Embassy in
                   Singapore as charge d' affaires from 1988 to 1990, will
be here as part of
                   a four-nation swing which will also take him to Brunei,
Indonesia and

                   He will call on Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Senior
Minister Lee
                   Kuan Yew on Friday and have talks with Professor
Jayakumar on
                   bilateral and regional issues, the Foreign Affairs
Ministry said in a
                   statement yesterday. Talks on bilateral economic
relations have also
                   been scheduled with officials of the Trade and Industry
Ministry and the
                   Trade Development Board. Singapore is Myanmar's largest
                   partner and is, cumulatively, its biggest foreign
investo,r with US$1.5
                   billion (S$2.5 billion) invested in the country as of
November last year.
                   Mr Win Aung's visit, first announced by the official
Myanmar News
                   Agency, comes at a time when Asean and the European Union
                   reached an impasse over Yangon's participation at next
month's meeting
                   of Asean and EU ministers in Berlin. 

                   The EU has refused to grant visas to, and has barred
visits by
                   high-ranking Myanmar officials, citing what the grouping
sees as
                   Yangon's poor human rights record. Asean argues that it
cannot allow a
                   member of the grouping to be represented at a different

                   While the EU -- Britain, Denmark and The Netherlands in
particular --

                   maintained its stance, Asean has noted that there was no
                   objection to the presence of Myanmar's Foreign Minister
at other fora,
                   such as Asean's post-ministerial conference dialogue. 

                   Thailand, which coordinates Asean's dialogue with the EU,
has been
                   hopeful about a resolution, failing which the Berlin
meeting cannot be
                   held -- as was the case when a scheduled Asean-EU
meeting in
                   Bangkok last month was cancelled.