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MPs push for Burma drug talks at As

Subject: MPs push for Burma drug talks at Asean 


MPs push for Burma drug talks at Asean

A HOUSE committee is to recommend to the Foreign Ministry that evidence of
Burma's involvement in metamphetamine trafficking in Thailand be discussed at
the Asean forums. 

Referring to Burma as Thailand's western neighbour, the chairman of the House
Committee on Parliamentarian Affairs, Samai Charoenchang, said yesterday the
move is to be made to expose Burma's misbehaviour to other Asean members, and
to use the international forum as a means of pushing for a solution to this
increasingly critical problem. 

''Once the Asean countries learn about these facts, they will definitely
not be
willing to befriend a country which allows its ethnic minorities to produce
''goods'', or drugs, that genocidally kill mankind,'' Samai claimed. 

''Eventually, Burma will become isolated and, naturally, its rulers cannot
sustain the country in such a state for very long,'' he said. 

Samai said trafficking of the drug from Thailand's western and northern
neighbour is growing at a critical pace. He quoted statistics of the Office of
Narcotics Control Board, that between two and three million tablets of
metaphetamines flood Thailand yearly, which takes between Bt3.4 and Bt5.1
million out of the economy. One tablet of the drug costs about Bt17. 

Samai said the committee will hold a meeting on July 22 with the chiefs of
policy-making and concerned law enforcement agencies to discuss the

Those attending the meeting will include the Secretary-General of the National
Security Council (NSC), Khachadpai Burusapatana, chief of Narcotic Supression
Bureau Pol Lt-Gen Khomkrit Patpongpanit and representatives of the Foreign
Ministry and provincial police. 

He said there were photographs and personal accounts to back up the charge
Burmese rulers condoned drug production and trafficking. 

Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan, who had been scheduled to attend the meeting,
will however leave for Singapore on July 21 for the Asean foreign ministers'
annual meeting, scheduled for July 22-28, during which discussion of future
cooperation on ways to combat transnational crime is to take place. 

Asean, which includes Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has never criticised Burma
about its drug record. 

Asean's partners in dialogue, the US in particular, have always taken Burma to
task during annual consultations, which are held back-to-back with the Asean
ministers' meeting. Other western countries have also accused Rangoon of not
doing enough to combat narcotics problems within its borders. 

Asean recently came under fire for allowing Rangoon to host the group's annual
meeting on transnational crimes, saying that such a move effectively means
recognition of the ruling junta, which has been repeatedly lambasted for its
poor human right record and scant anti-narcotic efforts. 

Meanwhile, PM's Office Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, who oversees the ONCB,
it had been found that more than 200 government officials in the South and
another 300 in the North had been involved in the amphetamine trade. 

The Nation