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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
 An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

June 14, 2000

Issue # 1553

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:



"I do not see why the Army, which is in charge of security of the 
project, would behave differently in the pipeline area to everywhere 
else in Burma. The military authorities are like an army of 
occupation in their own country"

Aung San Suu Kyi on allegations of human rights abuses related to the 
Yadana pipeline project.  (See LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR [FRANCE]: AN 

*Inside Burma













__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________


The 18th/24th May 2000 edition 

About the source: Le Nouvel Observateur is a French weekly magazine 

by Aung San Suu Kyi

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, the founder of the National 
League for Democracy was "released" in 1995 after six years of house 
arrest, but is still forbidden to leave Rangoon. She here delivers 
judgement on Total's role in Burma, the influence of drugs on the 
local economy, the future of the dictatorship and the attitude of 
France. Le Nouvel Observateur: A French parliamentary mission came 
last year to enquire on the impact of Total's gas pipeline in Burma, 
and its report recommends the freezing of the Company's activities. 
What do you think of that?  Aung San Suu Kyi: I of course approve 
such a recommendation. In the early 90's, at the development stage of 
the project, Total offered the hope of substantial revenues to a 
military junta that had just taken power by force, as well as beating 
a path that would be followed by other investors. The Yadana pipeline 
has today become a source of pride to the dictatorship. Moreover this 
investment enables it to legitimize its power.  

N. O. : The Burmese Army has been accused of violation of human 
rights during the construction and since the putting into operation 
of the pipeline. What information have you on this question?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: For the past eleven years I have been authorized 
neither to leave Rangoon nor to travel about the country, but I do 
not see why the Army, which is in charge of security of the project, 
would behave differently in the pipeline area to everywhere else in 
Burma. The military authorities are like an army of occupation in 
their own country. The population is imposable at will for forced 
labour to build roads, bridges, clear undergrowth, carry 
munitions ... The pipeline area being a zone of conflict with the 
ethnic minorities, the soldiers there have unbridled rights.  

N.O. : The management of Total insists that the pipeline benefits the 
local population.  

Aung San Suu Kyi: The pipeline benefits perhaps several people in the 
area, but not the majority, who on the contrary bear the costs.  

N.O. : How do you explain the attitude of Total when confronted with 
the criticisms of those defending human rights, and what is your 
position regarding foreign investments in Burma?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: We are opposed to foreign investment in the country 
on account of the political situation and because only the military 
and a small cluster of businessmen gain any benefit thereby. Total 
has taken upon itself the responsibility of investing massively in 
Burma while others decided to withdraw for ethical reasons. The 
Company must bear the consequences. The country will not forever be 
governed by dictators.  

N.O. : Would you envisage a revision of the contract if your party 
comes to power?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: We shall consider that when the time comes. It is 
not out of the question.  

N.O. : Have the heads of the French Company attempted to meet you?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: They expressed a desire to do so last year, but I 
have not yet set eyes on them. (smiling:) They must taken fright.  

N.O. : What is your opinion of France's role in Burma at the present 

Aung San Suu Kyi: This is a real mystery to me. Fifty-five percent of 
the tourists are French, and France is the principal European 
investor in the country. (smiling:) Perhaps the French are not well-
informed of the situation in Burma.  

N.O. : The generals that run Burma never cease repeating that there 
is no opposition ...  

Aung San Suu Kyi: On that point I agree with them. There is no 
opposition ... Since we are the legitimate government, elected by a 
majority of the Burmese people in May 1990.  

N.O. : It seems that you are the main target of the regime. Would you 
be prepared to stand down in order to break the political deadlock?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: The SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) uses 
me as a pretext for not engaging in talks. When I was under house 
arrest, from 1989 to 1995, no-one attempted to contact the NLD 
(National League for Democracy). If I was not around, they would find 
another ploy.  

N.O. : The military authorities say you are more and more isolated, 
that you no longer have the same popular support as before ...  

Aung San Suu Kyi: For obvious security reasons we do not publish the 
list of NLD members. But I can assure you that support for us has not 
dropped since the years 1988-89 when the population voted massively 
for the NLD. The thirst for democracy is stronger than ever, for the 
Burmese have suffered much more since 1988, under the present 
dictatorship, than under those of preceding regimes. In reality, the 
gulf is widening between the Army and the population; it is a sign 
there is no hope for this regime.  

N.O. :  The World Bank offered, in vain, a billion [U.S. billion; 
U.K. - thousand million ] dollars of aid in exchange for opening 
talks. The United Nations have equally tried to intervene. How can 
one break the political deadlock?  

Aung San Suu Kyi:  Our position has been clear for the past ten 
years: the talking must start. Today the ball is in the government's 
camp. But the junta fears us, just as it fears the students. The 
universities have been closed for the past four years and will 
probably not be reopened, since they are being converted into 
administrative buildings.  

N.O. : What is the state of the country, twelve years after seizure 
of power by the military?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma is suffering full economic stagnation, is 
plagued with runaway inflation, and the junta tightens its grip while 
at the same time doing business with a small minority. They create 
military academies, buy arms, and have just increased the defence 
budget, which is eight times that for education and health.  

N.O. : According to the Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues 
[Geopolitical Watchdog on Drugs] Burma is today the prime world 
producer of heroin, along with Afghanistan. What role in your opinion 
do drugs play in the Burmese economy?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: An important role. Very large fortunes are being 
made in a short time in the Rangoon of today. That is an indication. 
And it can only happen under the control of the military.  

N.O. : The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is due shortly 
to commence, in collaboration with the Rangoon government, the 
repatriation of 110,000 refugees massed along the Thai border. What 
do you think of that?  

Aung San Suu Kyi: It is a matter for concern. The United Nations are 
organizing the return to a dictatorship of people obliged to flee it, 
without anything having been resolved.  

N.O. : Do you ever lose patience? 

Aung San Suu Kyi:  I am calm. I know that ours is a righteous 
struggle. Burma will be democratic.  

N.O. : Do you think you will one day be head of a democratic 
government in Burma.  

Aung San Suu Kyi:  The future will tell. It is difficult to escape 
one's destiny.    

interview by 




The 18th/24th May 2000 edition 

About the source: Le Nouvel Observateur is a French weekly magazine 


from our special correspondent

The French oil company Total states there is no collusion between 
itself and the Burmese army. An on-the-spot enquiry reveals the 
reality to be less clear cut. With a gold watch on his wrist and a 
latest-model pistol in his belt despite a monthly salary of 2,200 
kyats (less than 50 francs [$7]), Major Zaw Lwin wears his new 
uniform round his base, Ban-I-Tong, comprising 30 bunkers perched on 
impregnable hills in south-eastern Burma. Zaw Lwin commands Burmese 
Army Battalion No.282, one of those referred to here as "the Total 
battalions" because they are responsible for security of the French 
oil company's gas pipeline in this rebellious region bordering 
Thailand.  According to numerous local sources, Battalion No.282 
receives regular payments from Total, not to mention benefits in kind 
and in vehicles. Questioned on this subject, Major Zaw Lwin merely 
smiles, his way of saying the matter is taboo.  

But a deserter, encountered in the region, from Battalion No.410, 
another "Total battalion", is more talkative. "I did everything 
during my period of service, from press-ganging to guarding the 
forced labourers on the site, as well as actually guarding the 
pipeline. We often carried boxes of ammunition and baskets of 
grenades in Total's helicopters; one simply had to ask and they would 
send us a chopper." He then enumerated the Burmese Army's standard 
practices around the pipeline site, sometimes under the eye of 
foreign employees: mass arrests, seizure of property, displacement of 
population and destruction of villages.  

A veteran sergeant of Battalion No.402 recalls "military and 
political training courses" organized in the field by "eleven armed 
employees of Total".  

The management of the oil company denies all these facts as well as 
collusion with the military authorities, who have a reputation for 
dubious practices.  

However, according to a French employee who worked until 1998 at 
Kanbauk, the "living-base" of Total in Burma, the oil company 
initially felt itself ensnared by an omnipresent army which "controls 
everything" and ended up by "closing its eyes".
Summed up one of the sergeant's superiors:  "Total's people know what 
goes on, but they must not see it."  

On the side of the Karen guerillas, who oppose the pipeline crossing 
their territory, the attitude is nowadays less one of confrontation 
than negotiation. Two former Saint-Cyriens [i.e. graduates of the 
French Army's military academy] who fought alongside the Karen rebels 
have been discretely "filtered out" by the French authorities. The 
old warrior chief, General Bo Mya, interviewed in his stronghold of 
Walakee 200 km [125 miles] north of the pipeline said he was ready to 
do a deal: "If Total agrees to pay us an annual tax of 20 million 
dollars for crossing our territory, I can guarantee there will be no 
attempts at sabotage." Wasted effort? Amongst his staff it is 
mentioned that "a Western embassy in Bangkok" has addressed a very 
firm warning to the guerilla forces: in the event of action against 
the pipeline, all assistance to Karen refugees will be halted.  



(June 14, 2000)

  But rebuff could be costly, says group

  Supamart Kasem in Tak

  The National League for Democracy Liberation Area is moving ahead 
with its plan to   seek peace talks with Rangoon, Burma's opposition 
party and ethnic minorities.   A source who observed last week's 
third NLD/LA conference said the NLD/LA was   adamant on its policy 
to find resolutions to problems in Burma through negotiations   among 
the Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD, Burma's State Peace and Development 
Council,   and ethnic minority representatives.

  According to its statement publicised in Burma after the meeting, 
the group has given full   support for the proposed establishment of 
the Committee Representing People's   Parliament and will seek the 
global community's recognition of the panel.   The NLD/LA has also 
pledged to participate in the review of Burma's draft constitution   
written by the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB).   
However, the group has threatened to join hands with Burmese 
minorities and pro-   democracy rebels against the military dictators 
and declare their country the Federation   Union of Burma if the 
compromising policy fails.

  At the10-day NLD/LA conference held in a Burmese border area 
opposite Tak last week,   the election of the new executive committee 
was completed with U Tin Aung, a former   NLD chief from Kachin 
state, being made the chairman.

  The fifty participants at the meeting represented the NLD Council 
in Rangoon, the NLD   Central Committee members, the minister of the 
National Coalition Government of the   Union of Burma and observers 
from the Karen National Union, All Burma Muslim   Union and All Burma 
Students' Democratic Front. 

___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________


Independent Bangladesh, June 11, 2000

Yangon for coordinated efforts for Rohingya repatriation

Envoy says camps in Myanmar scaled down 

Myanmar has suggested strong coordinated efforts by officials of 
Dhaka Yangon and UNHCR to speed up repatriation of the Rohingya 
refugees now staying in camps in Cox's Bazar, reports UNB. 

"If coordination and cooperation among the three parties are not in 
harmony, the process of repatriation cannot be speeded up... then 
there will be delays," said Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka Ohn Thwin.  

In an interview with UNB, the Ambassador said his country has already 
accepted more than 230,000 people and camps were scaled down.  
He said that out of the 7,000 cleared people, more than 1,500 were 
repatriated and another 5,500 are in the process of scrutiny for 
receiving them back. 

Thwin, however, refused to discuss at the moment the other Rohingya 
refugees staying in the camps in Bangladesh. 

According to Bangladesh officials, about 250,877 Rohingyas entered 
the country in 1991 and of them about 20,964 are still awaiting 

In reply to a question, the envoy referred to the agreed discussions 
among the three parties in September 1998 about repatriation. He 
said, "The people to be repatriated must be voluntary at their own 
will. It must not be a split family." 

Thwin said that in the cases of death or birth, the concerned 
authorities must endorse in proper order to avoid "untoward 
allegations" by persons who are likely to reenter into Bangladesh to 
create problems.  
He said regarding the split family case, there were instances that 
some people illegally came back to Bangladesh to meet family members 
left behind. 

Due to these reasons, he said, Myanmar authorities were making the 
repatriation process in accordance with the norms agreed among the 
three parties. 

The ambassador indicated that some organisations or parties might 
benefit for "personal gain out of refugee problem." 

The issue of repatriation of Rohingya refugees was expected to come 
up during the Myanmar Prime Minister Than Shwe's planned visit to 
Dhaka on May 29. The visit was postponed because of what young said 
his indisposition. 

Asked about any chance of rescheduling the visit sometime this year, 
the Ambassador said the Chairman of State Peace and Development 
Council of Myanmar will visit Bangladesh at a time mutually 
convenient to both sides. 

Asked about the possible areas of cooperation between the two 
neighbours, Thwin said Dhaka and Yangon may have cooperation in 
politics, economy, health, exchange of know-how and conservation of 

"In the process of globalisation, it is my view that as developing 
Third World countries, we must think global but act local, he said.  
About the General Trade Agreement signed between the two countries on 
August 3, 1973, he agreed that although bilateral trade is growing, 
it is not very fast. He said private entrepreneurs are trying to 
enhance the trade volume. 

Myanmar used to import cement, fertilisers and pharmaceuticals from 
Bangladesh. Now Myanmar produces these items for domestic consumption 
and those imports are being cut down. 

It is not feasible under the prevailing circumstances to equalise 
trade with Bangladesh, the Ambassador said. 

In reply to a question about Land Boundary Treaty signed in November 
1998, he said it was a necessity between the two close neighbours. He 
hoped that land dispute would not arise after this boundary treaty.
Asked about the Asian Highway, which Dhaka gives much importance, the 
envoy said Myanmar on its part had taken up measures in developing 
highway road links inside its territory to get linked with the Asian 
Highway provided that the concept is beneficial to this region.

__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________


Title: TOTAL: Entre Marée Noire et Blanchiment (Between the black 
ocean and the whitewash)
Author: Francis Christophe
Publisher: Editions Golias
Publication Date: March 2000

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: As the excerpt notes, BurmaNet and 
EuroBurmaNet are not affiliated.]

[Begin excerpt]

Total and the cyberplot
Since 1996 when the web considerably widened its audience it has 
played an  important part in Burmese affairs. It became a prime tool 
for the struggle  of democrats exiled world-wide after the bloody 
repression of 1988 and  subsequent manhunts by the regime. Through 
its contract with the junta, Total naturally found itself targeted, 
as did all American and foreign companies dealing with the Rangoon 
dictatorship. Until Erika' s shipwreck, the petroleum company had 
handled this unconventional warfare with great skill.
In 1996, a website named "Worldwide Total Boycott" appeared in 
France. It was created and managed by an American national resident 
in Paris, who signed his diatribes with the name of "Dawn Star". 
Instead of using legal protection -French law would have normally 
ordered the closure of the site for defamation, illegal competition, 
etc - and having a suitable penalty enforced, Total has been using it 
in its favour. To such an extent that, in the opinion of many, "Dawn 
Star" is certainly working in Total's interest and the company ought 
to sponsor him, if this is not yet being done. Indeed "Dawn Star's " 
posted documents have greatly facilitated Total's strategic task when 
the company felt it had to promote the scenario of a plot targeting 
the company because of its success in Burma. Quoting some aggressive 
and clumsy texts emanating from the boycotter on duty sufficed to 
support this theory in the eyes of benevolent media and political 
To add to the confusion, this boycotter appears to be an 
imposter. "Dawn Star" has named his "domain" euroburma.com , which he 
presents as the European branch of the Burmanet network, well known 
to be sponsored by the Open Society Institute (the foundation of the 
American tycoon George Soros).  Burmanet categorically denied this 
filiation, which did not prevent Bernard Dopffer, the then Asia-
Pacific Director at the Quai d'Orsay, frompresenting  to some French 
parliamentarians some "euroburma" documents, describing them 
erroneously as specimens of uncontrolled propaganda by George Soros 
against  French interests in Asia.
Many articles extracted from media specializing in "economic 
intelligence" as well as the prestigious "Revue de la Defense 
Nationale" (national defence  review) have largely echoed this 
mistaken vision of anglo-saxon "electronic warfare" against "France's 
vital interests". One of the Revue's  contributors, an ex-security 
advisor for Total now recycled in economic  intelligence, suggests 
that " Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi's anglo-saxon connections work towards 
the regime' s downfall with a single aim in mind: for their own 
companies to step into the positions previously occupied by Total. 
It  follows that the French government has no other choice than to 
support the  junta." In addition to favouring the deployment of 
a "diplomatic umbrella"  to shelter Total's interests in all 
circumstances, this kind of logic also provides a convenient reply to 
any possible criticism of the company : attacking Total is also 
being "anti-french"...
 "Dawn Star" has also supported Total in other ways. With a self-
proclaimed expertise, he consistently worked to discredit any 
disturbing information on  the company if it had not come from him. 
When an American magazine, using  information published by the 
Geopolitical Drug Watch (Observatoire  geopolitique des drogues, 
OGD), described the MOGE's involvement in drug-money laundering and 
as a result Total and Unocal's roles in this process, "Dawn Star" 
poured out counter-truths in all Burma- and petrol-related internet 
sites. He went as far as to state that the OGD had not conducted any 
inquiry into the role of the MOGE in drug-money laundering for the 
Burmese generals...When the correspondant of Le Monde referred to 
these accusations against the MOGE, "Dawn Star" again did his utmost 
to  minimise the article's importance.
With the "Worldwide Total Boycott" in the hands of such a suspicious 
character (none of his financing sources are known), no serious group 
could possibly be associated with him in a campaign against Total. By 
occupying this boycott space "Dawnstar" garanteed that the risks of a 
boycott were nil. Erika's shipwreck shattered this fragile cosmetic 
structure, contributing to Total's general disarray since the call 
for boycott by the Green party on December 28 1999 - and petitions to 
this effect on the internet. How else could one explain the 
caricatural maneuvre by Total,with Patrick Poivre D' Arvor's TV news 
on the TF1 channel? To ridicule the boycott TF1 interviewed an 
anonymous consumer who minimized the importance of the call by the 
Green party and made apologies for the company. This "anonymous 
customer" was in fact Gilbert Puluhen, the very man in charge of 
international operations for the Total group!

As for petitions on the internet, some members of Total's management 
would like the RG (Renseignements Generaux, the general intelligence 
and security service) to identify their sources. After three years of 
dutiful service, the web seems to finally escape Total's control!



Labor calls for Myanmar sanctions       	
ILO alleges forced labor, divided on timeline for action        

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 12 - A powerful committee of the annual 
International Labor Conference called Monday for worldwide sanctions 
on Myanmar due to its allegedly widespread use of forced labor. But 
under a compromise hammered out between Western powers demanding 
immediate action and Asian allies who closed ranks around Myanmar, 
the measures would only take effect starting Nov. 30.
TRADE UNIONS say that in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, some 
800,000 people have been conscripted with little or no pay as army 
porters or workers in construction and agriculture in slave-like 
conditions. The full conference of the International Labor 
Organization (ILO), made up of all 174 member states, is to vote 
Wednesday on whether to endorse the resolution approved by the 
forum's key selection committee, a spokesman said. The resolution, 
adopted over objections by Malaysia, India, China and Japan, gives 
the ruling junta five months to bring its laws and administrative 
measures into line with an international treaty banning forced labor, 
or face sanctions. The ILO's Governing Body, made up of 28 key 
states, would make the call. 'Sanctions are invoked but put off until 
end-November. It sets the scene for a showdown.' 


"Sanctions are invoked but put off until end-November. It sets the 
scene for a showdown," one diplomat said.

An appeal to governments and international institutions -including 
the World Bank and International Monetary Fund - to ensure they do 
not abet Myanmar in perpetuating forced labor would be a first at the 
81-year-old U.N. labor agency.

"This is an important decision. The procedure is unprecedented," ILO 
spokesman John Doohan told Reuters.


Myanmar's Labor Minister Maj. Gen. Tin Ngwe took the floor at the 
Geneva talks to defend his country's record and denounce the "unfair 
and unwarranted action" against it.

"I wish to reiterate that Myanmar has taken and is taking necessary 
measures to ensure that there are no instances of forced labor in 
Myanmar," he said.

"In the end, those who had the power to impose their will slammed 
through a resolution that in a stroke snuffed out the promising 
cooperation between the ILO and Myanmar," Tin added.
The United States and European Union, led by Britain and Portugal, 
voted in favor of the resolution so as to further isolate Myanmar and 
push it into compliance, diplomats said.

But Myanmar's minister, in what Western diplomats called a clear 
appeal to other developing countries, said it was "disturbing" that 
ILO was trying to introduce "cross conditionalities" with other 
international agencies. "Because to do so would in effect not only 
place sanctions on Myanmar but would also set a dangerous precedent 
for the entire membership," Tin said. After more than a decade of 
debate on Myanmar, ILO member states last year barred it from the 
Geneva-based agency. The ban followed a 1998 ILO commission of 
inquiry which found the country violated the 1930 treaty banning 
forced labor.

Myanmar hastily invited an ILO mission last month in what trade 
unions saw as a bid to stave off further condemnation.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________


Story Filed: Wednesday, June 13, 2000 11:43 PM EST 

YANGON (June 14) XINHUA - The private sector accounted for 77. 2 
percent of Myanmar's trade in fiscal 1999-2000 which ended in March, 
up from 66 percent 11 years ago, said official newspaper The New 
Light of Myanmar Wednesday. 

Quoting Lieutenant-General Tin Oo, second secretary of the Myanmar 
State Peace and Development Council, the report said the investment 
of the private sector also increased to 70 percent of the total 
investment capital of the nation in 1999-2000, up from 41.9 percent 
in 1988-89.  

In the past five years, Myanmar has followed a positive policy toward 
the private sector and has been implementing since January 1995 a 
plan of privatization for its state economic enterprises (SEEs).  
The first phase of the plan, for small SEEs, has been reportedly 
completed and the second phase which deals with about 1, 760 medium-
and large-scale SEEs is under way. 

According to official statistics, there are more than 53,000 
manufacturing enterprises in Myanmar, of which 51,000 or more are 
private ones. 

Meanwhile, the government has also been implementing some related 
preferential policies for the private sector in trade such as 
exemption of the commercial tax since November 1997. 

_____________________ OTHER ______________________


National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma

Tuesday, June 20th, 2000
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2255
Independence Avenue and C Street
10 a.m. û 12:30 p.m.

Guests of Honor:
Congressman and Mrs. Tom Lantos
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Prime Minister Dr. Sein Win (NCGUB)

Naw Sanda Wine  Woman and Conflict in Burma
Naw Mu Si  The State of Education for Refugees
Naw May Oo  Comment on Effort Made by Women for Peace
Ma Myaing Myaing Nyunt  Lack of Health Education in Burma 
Event sponsored by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, in 
coordination with Burmese Women's Union (USA East Coast),and the 
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB)Women's 
Affairs Department. 
For more information, please contact Event Coordinator,
Yuzana Khin at 202-328-1176 or Naw May Oo at 202-393-7497. 
Thank you.



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