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Reuters-Myanmar pours cold water on

Subject: Reuters-Myanmar pours cold water on foreign mediation 

Myanmar pours cold water on foreign mediation
01:55 a.m. Jul 09, 1999 Eastern
By Rajan Moses

YANGON, July 9 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government has received no
outside offers of mediation to resolve the deadlock with the pro-democracy
opposition, and will solve its problems on its own, Foreign Minister Win
Aung said.

A European Union delegation that visited the country this week had made no
such offer, nor had former South African president Nelson Mandela despite
reports he could consider such a role, Win Aung told Reuters late on

``It would not be reasonable to do so (offer to mediate) because it is our
domestic affair,'' the minister said.

A South African diplomat said last month Mandela would consider acting as a
mediator between the military and the opposition, led by his fellow Nobel
peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The diplomat said Mandela was willing to
consider the role if formally asked by the opposition.

``No proposal from Mandela,'' Win Aung said.

``I think Mr Mandela can't understand our politics,'' he added. ``We don't
mean that we have solved the problems. We are trying to solve the problems
by peaceful means by ourselves. Our problems are very complex.''

Wing Aung said a visit by a mid-ranking EU delegation this week had been
confined to fact-finding.

``Therefore, we told them what they wanted to know.''

EU diplomats said the delegation went to Myanmar to look at reestablishing a
dialogue with the government in the interests of promoting human rights and
a rapprochement between the opposition and military.

The EU is also interested in repairing its relationship with the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has been damaged by the grouping's
formal admission of Myanmar in 1997.

Myanmar's treatment of the opposition, including the arrest and detention of
hundreds of its members, has led the European Union to bar Myanmar officials
from its borders, forcing cancellation of a high-level meeting of the two
blocs earlier this year.

The European Union wants to see ``substantial progress'' on human rights
before lifting the ban.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won Myanmar's last general election
in 1990 by a landslide but the military ignored the result.

Her party has said it is willing for dialogue with the military, but the
government has insisted that the party first renounce a committee it
established last year to represent the parliament never allowed to form
after the election.

Khun Tun Oo, head of the opposition Shan Nationalities League for Democracy,
told Reuters after meeting the EU delegation on Wednesday he expected its
talks with the opposition and the military to have ``a very strong impact''
on the EU's attitude towards Myanmar.
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