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BurmaNet News: May 26, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         May 26, 2001   Issue # 1810
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign MOU on Maintenance of Road

MONEY _______
*AFP: Singapore, Myanmar open fourth round of economic talks
*Mizzima: Burmese kyat stabilizes
*Independent Mon News Agency: Khun Sa invests in cement factory

*Nation: Chavalit may visit Burma ahead of PM To lay groundwork for 
patching up ties

*AFP: Senior Myanmar diplomat applies for asylum in United States 
*AP: Thaksin warns relations with Myanmar in danger of collapsing 
*AP: Human Rights Watch calls for Myanmar to release detained lawmakers 
*AP: Canberra to repeat human rights lessons in Myanmar 

*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Perceiving the truth 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign MOU on Maintenance of Road

YANGON, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and India have reached a memorandum 
of understanding (MOU) on maintenance of the India- built Kalay-Tamu 
highway road, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Construction 
Saturday. Representing respective countries, Managing Director U Nay Soe 
Naing of the Public Works of Myanmar Ministry of Construction and 
Additional Secretary Leela K Ponappa of the Indian Ministry of External 
Affairs signed the agreement here on Friday. 

The event was witnessed by Myanmar Deputy Ministers of Construction U 
Tint Swe and Brigadier-General Myint Thein, Myanmar Deputy Minister of 
Foreign Affairs U Khin Maung Win and Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Shyam 
Saran. In February, Indian Minister of External Affairs Shri Jaswant 
Singh attended the inaugural ceremony of the Kalay-Tamu highway in Tamu, 
a border town on Myanmar's northwestern Sagaing division linking India. 
The 160-kilometer-long Kalay-Tamu highway, which India built for Myanmar 
at a cost of one billion Indian rupees (about 22 million U.S. dollars), 
forms an important link from the Indian- Myanmar border to central 
Myanmar and the commercial and cultural center of Mandalay.


Mizzima: Burmese kyat stabilizes

Burmese kyat stabilizes
Rangoon, May 23rd 2001 
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

 Burmese kyat has stabilized and edged higher in its exchange with US 
dollar after declining to its lowest ever record last week. "The kyat 
has risen against the dollar in the (black) market. It is around 740/750 
kyat to the US dollar today", said a currency dealer in Rangoon. Burmese 
kyat declined to record lows last week hitting the market with kyat 
850/900 to the US dollar.  
The country?s Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) has also strengthened 
itself today with the prevailing market rate of kyat 720/730 to the FEC. 
The authorities had cracked down on some dozens currency dealers in 
Rangoon and Mandalay after the sudden slide of kyat last week. ?Those 
dealers who were arrested are not yet released?, said the currency 
dealer who wants to remain anonymous.  
?Words are spreading that the authorities are warning the people not to 
talk and discuss about the currency exchange situation?, said a Rangoon 


Independent Mon News Agency: Khun Sa invests in cement factory

Date 23.5.2001

Oo Kun Sa (Drug King) also invested in a new cement factory project in 
Mying Kalay town Karen State southern Burma described by IMNA reporter. 
This cement factory started constructing in 1998 and SPDC are trying to 
open it in December 2001.

In this factory they appointed only military officer who were finished 
military engineering and when they are constructing they used only 
engineer from the army. 

This factory was managed by military, and named Oo Paing Ltd, but 
Zaykabar, Oo Khin Shew, Oo Kun Sa and a Japanese company also invested.  
They had an agreement that cement produced from this factory has to sold 
to Japan for 20 years. After 20 years military will own it. For this 
factory, Japanese company bought the machinery which runs on natural 


AFP: Singapore, Myanmar open fourth round of economic talks 

SINGAPORE, May 25 (AFP) - Singapore and Myanmar held a fourth round of 
bilateral economic talks here Friday, as Southeast Asia's most affluent 
country works "to strengthen the economic integration" of its struggling 
ASEAN partner. 

 The Myanmar economy is reeling from a crippling regime of sanctions, 
and foreign investments have all but dried up owing to the stigma 
attached to investing in a country blamed by the West for serious human 
rights abuses. 

 However, well-off Singapore has adopted a policy of "patient and quiet 
diplomacy" towards the ruling junta, encouraging Myanmar to open up via 
economic engagements such as investments and tourism. 
 Friday's meeting endorsed 22 new initiatives "for sustained economic 
growth in Myanmar," and agreed to negotiate a bilateral investment 
guarantee system, the trade ministry said in a statement at the end of 
the talks. 

 Singapore is the largest foreign investor in Myanmar, with total 
investments of 1.54 billion US dollars. 
 The planned new agreement would encourage greater investor interest, 
not only from Singapore but from foreign companies based in the 
 Singapore is Myanmar's largest trading partner, although bilateral 
trade peaked at just 1.3 billion Singapore dollars (725 million US) in 
1997, the year Yangon joined the 10-nation Association of Southeast 
Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

 In a speech opening the talks, Singapore Trade Minister George Yeo 
noted an erosion of confidence in ASEAN in the past three years and that 
foreign direct investment (FDI) had dropped from 28 billion US dollars 
in 1997 to 15 billion US dollars in 1998. 
 "For the year 2000, FDI inflow is expected to be even lower. It is 
therefore critical for Myanmar and Singapore to work with other 
countries in ASEAN to build a more conducive, pro-business and 
investment-friendly environment," he said 

 Last November, Singapore unsuccessfully tried to raise support to block 
the International Labour Organisation from recommending sanctions 
against Yangon over the issue of forced labour. 
 A month later, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong threatened to 
call off talks between ASEAN and the European Union amid reports some 
European ministers would not attend because of Myanmar's presence. 



Nation: Chavalit may visit Burma ahead of PM To lay groundwork for 
patching up ties

Yuwadee Tunyasiri

Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh may go to Burma before the prime 
minister's official visit to lay down the groundwork for the two 
countries to settle their differences.

In the wake of the growing border conflict, Gen Chavalit said he would 
seek permission to do so from Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He said he would tell Rangoon that Thailand was concerned about the 
amount of drugs being smuggled in from Burma.

He would also inform Burma that Thailand has no reason to support ethnic 
minority rebels.

He insisted the military and police were ready to cope with further 
hostile action following the shelling of a royal project at Doi Angkhang 
in Fang district, Chiang Mai. Gen Chavalit warned people not to become 
victims of a "third hand" that might be trying to drive a wedge between 
Burma and Thailand.

The deputy prime minister said he had discussed the situation with the 
prime minister and Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.

Mr Thaksin believed the conflict stemmed from mistrust between the two 
countries despite two visits to Burma by the foreign minister and 
Thammarak Issarangura na Ayutthaya, PM's Office minister. He said the 
situation had not improved because of border tensions.

He admitted the conflict was being developed from local level to the 
government-to-government level and action must be taken to stop it.




___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: Senior Myanmar diplomat applies for asylum in United States 

BANGKOK, May 25 (AFP) - A senior Myanmar diplomat stationed at the 
United Nations headquarters in New York has applied for asylum in the 
United States after his four-year term expired, sources said Friday. 
 Ko Ko, formerly the first secretary in Myanmar's mission to the United 
Nations, left his official residence in New York earlier this month, a 
source in the foreign ministry in Yangon said. 

 He had been ordered to return home with his wife and two children in 
April, the source said, adding that he had now been dismissed from the 

 The US embassy in Bangkok declined to comment on the case, saying all 
applications for asylum remained confidential. 

 The diplomat's move comes just days before the UN's special envoy to 
Myanmar, Razali Ismail of Malaysia, is due to make a landmark visit to 
the military-run country. 

 Razali is expected to try to push along the dialogue between the junta 
and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which is believed to have run 
into trouble in recent weeks as it entered a delicate decision-making 


AP: Thaksin warns relations with Myanmar in danger of collapsing 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra warned Friday 
that Thailand's relations with Myanmar could be destroyed because of 
growing mistrust following weeks of border skirmishes and angry words. 

 ``Mistrust is a key reason of Thai-Myanmar problems. Mistrust started 
at the border level, which aroused hate between people of the two 
nations,'' Thaksin said. 

 ``The mistrust is going to destroy 
government-to-government relationship if we are not careful,'' he told 

 On Thursday, Thailand's Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar's ambassador, 
Myo Myint, to formally protest articles in a state-run Myanmar newspaper 
that allegedly insulted the Thai monarchy. 

 The protest came as long-standing tension between the two nations 
reached a new peak following Myanmar artillery shells landing Tuesday on 
Thai soil, narrowly missing a royal villa near the border. The two sides 
have been firing at each other since February. 

 Thaksin said the defense and foreign ministers are trying to solve the 
problems together. ``It will take sometime to mend the conflict,'' 
Thaksin said. 
 He appealed to the Thai people to ``understand the situation'' and not 
``rise up to protest against Myanmar because of mistrust.'' 

 Separately, Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said Thailand was 
not an enemy of Myanmar. ``We want to sit down and talk before 
everything gets out of hand,'' he said. 

 But, he added, Myanmar's Foreign Minister has not made a decision 
whether to come to Thailand. ``So we cannot proceed in solving the 
conflict,'' he said. 

 The tensions between the two countries stem from a series of problems, 
but principally over drug smuggling. 
 The Thai press and officials accuse Myanmar's military government of 
ignoring the large scale production of the illegal drug methamphetamine 
by ethnic minority groups, mainly the United Wa State Army, based along 
the border for sale in Thailand. 
 Wa has been named by the U.S. State Department as a major drug producer 
in the area. But Myanmar's junta defends the Wa, saying the group has 
stopped producing drugs since the 1989 cease-fire and is now sincerely 
developing its homeland, just as other former rebel groups are doing in 
other border areas after giving up their armed struggles. 
 Myanmar's state-controlled press has retaliated with sometimes crude 
articles and cartoons attacking Thailand for alleged hypocrisy and 
historical misdeeds. The articles in The New Light of Myanmar daily 
which Thailand said insulted its monarchy referred to matters that took 
place in the 19th century. 

 Myanmar also accuses Thailand of providing sanctuary and support to 
anti-government rebel groups.


AP: Human Rights Watch calls for Myanmar to release detained lawmakers 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ An international human rights group called 
Friday for the release of 85 people who were elected to parliament in 
1990 but later detained after Myanmar's ruling military annulled the 
poll results. 

 The New York-based Human Rights Watch issued the call ahead of Sunday's 
anniversary of the elections, which were won by the National League for 
Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 The elections would have put an end to 28 years of military rule. 
Instead, the military blocked Parliament from convening, saying it would 
draft a new constitution, a process that has not made any notable 
progress. The ruling military also has harassed and repressed members of 
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. 

 In the past six months, the military has opened a dialogue with Suu 
Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, in an effort to ease the political 
deadlock. The military regime has been ostracized by the West for its 
poor human rights record and failure to hand over power to a 
democratically elected government. 
 Most of the detained lawmakers were arrested in crackdowns on the 
political opposition after the elections, but some have been held since 
1990, said Human Rights Watch. 

 The group says it believes all are being held for the peaceful 
expression of their political views. 
 Besides the 85 members of Parliament, at least 1,000 other political 
prisoners are in detention, Human Rights Watch said. 

 Other lawmakers fled into exile or were pressured to resign from their 
political parties, while ``at least four are believed to have died in 
detention,'' said Human Rights Watch. 

 It urged the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, ``to 
immediately and unconditionally release all imprisoned members of 

 ``By freeing all imprisoned MP's, the Burmese government could 
demonstrate its willingness to begin addressing the country's massive 
human rights problems,'' said Joe Saunders, deputy Asia director for 
Human Rights Watch. ``To have a truly meaningful dialogue, all 
opposition leaders should be free to express their views and ideas.'' 

 Some of the detained members of parliament have been tried and 
convicted under national security statutes, while others are being held 
without charges in government ``guest houses'' at military bases


AP: Canberra to repeat human rights lessons in Myanmar 

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ Australia is planning to run a series of 
human rights workshops for civil servants in Myanmar's military regime 
for the second year, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Friday. 

 The workshops provoked condemnation when introduced last year but 
diplomats at the foreign ministry who assessed the lessons said they had 
some value, prompting Canberra to run them for a second time. 

 ``We harbor no illusions about the difficulty of promoting change in 
Burma, but continue to believe that it is worth trying to promote 
long-term progress through raising awareness in the specific area of 
human rights,'' Downer said in a statement. 

 This year, the four-day workshops will be conducted in Mandalay as well 
as the capital, Yangon, and representatives of Burmese civil society 
organizations will be invited to join. 

 ``They will raise awareness of international human rights standards and 
relevant United Nations conventions,'' Downer said. 

 The lesson will be conducted by lecturers from Australia's Monash 
University at a total cost of 140,000 Australian dollars (dlrs 72,000). 

 Military rulers in Myanmar, also known as Burma, have long been 
criticized for the regime's failure to implement election results and 
repeatedly detaining pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 












The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Perceiving the truth 

Thursday, 24 May, 2001


Hearsay is what you hear from those who are not directly involved. The 
information heard through others and not from the horse's mouth is 
difficult to be considered as true. Believing only what you see with 
your own eyes or what you yourself have experienced is perceiving the 
At present, the Myanmar government and all the national people are 
striving hand in hand to completely root out the opium, the evil legacy 
of the colonialists, from the nation. Due to the concerted efforts of 
the government and the national people, opium cultivation is 
significantly decreasing in and disappearing from the nation. As peace 
has been restored in border areas, the national ethnic groups and the 
State have been able to pay more attention to totally wiping out the 

  The Narcotic Drugs Elimination Museums have been built in the nation, 
one in Mongla town in eastern Shan State and another in Laukkai town in 
northern Shan State. Mongla region was already announced to the world as 
an Opium-Free Zone in April 1997. All the national races peace groups 
are making all-out efforts to declare their regions " Opium-Free Zones". 
Myanmar has gained success right from the first year in implementing the 
15-year project to eliminate the narcotic drugs harming the entire 
mankind. The first five-year period of the 15-year project is from 
1999-2000 to 2003-2004; the second five-year period, from 2004-2005 to 
2008-2009; the third five-year period, from 2009-2010 to 2013-2014. The 
fiscal 1999-2000, which is the first year of the project, has concluded 
successfully. The government spent K 1,319.6054 million and US $ 
1,495,417 in implementing the first year of the 15-year project.  
The government has carried out the security duties and launched 
operations to stop drug trafficking and production in border areas, 
taken action against and handed down sentences on the drug- related 
offenders, destroyed poppy fields and torched the seized narcotic drugs 
in the presence of the international community. It is also actively 
cooperating with her neighbouring countries, other world nations and the 
United Nations to eliminate the narcotic drugs. 
Myanmar, the People's Republic of China, Laos, Thailand and the United 
Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) signed the Memorandum of 
Understanding (MoU) on Drug Control in the Subregion at the UN General 
Assembly in New York, the United States, in October 1993 with the belief 
that concerted international efforts are required to address the severe 
problems of illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse in the 

Cambodia and Vietnam joined the regional anti-narcotics efforts and 
became parties of the regional group at the first Ministerial Meeting of 
the signatories to the 1993 MoU which was held in Beijing, PRC, in May 
1995. Thus, the number of signatories to the MoU has increased to six.  

Myanmar hosted the Ministerial Meeting of the six signatory countries to 
the MoU  Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, the People's Republic of China, 
Cambodia and Vietnam  and the Senior Officials Meeting as well as the 
High Level Officials Meeting at Hotel Equatorial in Yangon from 8 May to 
11 May.  

On 8 May, Myanmar-Thai and Myanmar-China High Level Officials Meetings 
were held in the morning session and Cambodia-Vietnam and Cambodia-Thai 
High Level Officials Meetings were held in the afternoon session. The 
MoU Senior Officials Meeting was held on 9 and 10 May. The MoU 
Ministerial Meeting was held on 11 May.  

At the MoU Ministerial Meeting which was held on 11 May, Secretary-1 of 
the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt delivered the 
opening address.  

In his address, the Secretary-1 said " In the world today, the 
political, economic and social fabrics of individual nations as well as 
peace and stability of various regions of the world face increasing 
threats ranging from the illicit production, transportation and 
trafficking of narcotic drugs, to drug-related crimes, and 
narco-terrorism, as well as from money-laundering and trans-border 
crimes committed by organized gangs. Moreover, the phenomenon of drug 
addiction among youth is increasing world-wide. The problem affects not 
only individual families but also the whole society directly or 

" The process of globalization as well as advances in information and 
communication systems and networks mean that the world is growing 
smaller. At the same time, it can be seen that these developments have 
opened the door for the criminal elements to take advantage of these 
conditions for their nefarious schemes. " The menace posed by narcotic 
drugs to the entire world cannot and must not be underestimated. The 
problem of narcotic drugs is not confined to any single nation. Nor can 
it be resolved by any one nation." 

Author : Maung Hmat Kyauk


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