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Burmanet News: October 9, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          October 9, 2001   Issue # 1895
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AFP: UN rights envoy arrives in Yangon for second historic mission 
*AP:  U.S. embassy closed in Myanmar for security reasons 
*BBC: Burma frees prisoners as envoy arrives

MONEY _______
*Bangkok Post: Economic talks in Rangoon start today 
*Xinhua: Myanmar Airways to Extend Domestic Flights
*PR Newswire: Seabourn Spirit Adds More Cruises of Vietnam and Myanmar

*Bangkok Post: PDA makes peace move after clashes 
*Mizzima: India steps up vigilance along Indo-Burma border

*European Union: Extension of EU Common Position (sanctions) on Burma 
for six months

*Bangkok Post: The deadly danger of Aids and drugs 

*Free Burma Coalition: New Date for Free Burma Coalition Conference

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: UN rights envoy arrives in Yangon for second historic mission 

YANGON, Oct 9 (AFP) - The United Nations' human rights envoy Paulo 
Sergio Pinheiro arrived here Tuesday for a visit of nearly two weeks to 
Myanmar, a military-run country which is accused of extensive rights 

 A UN official in Yangon confirmed that Pinheiro had begun the mission 
which will run until October 20. But he declined to reveal details of 
his schedule, which is being kept under tight wraps. 

 Pinheiro is visiting Myanmar at a time when year-long talks between the 
junta and the democratic opposition have eased the atmosphere in Yangon 
and raised hopes that political reforms may be on the horizon. 

 After his historic visit to Myanmar in April -- the first by a UN human 
rights envoy in five years -- Pinheiro spoke of an atmosphere of 
"cautious optimism" for possible change in the country. 

 "Every person that I met conveyed to me this impression, the government 
gave me an impression of respect for the opposition," the Brazilian 
academic said after talks with the generals and opposition leader Aung 
San Suu Kyi. 

 Pinheiro said then that on his return to Myanmar he would like to meet 
with leaders of opposition political parties and minority groups, and 
visit the nation's detention and labour camps. 

 According to a UN report, he also indicated a wish to visit zones for 
displaced people as well as the tense border regions.
 Like most visiting dignitaries, it is likely that Pinheiro will again 
be permitted to see democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his second 
 But observers said he may not enjoy the same unfettered access granted 
to the International Labor Organisation (ILO) team which departed last 
week after a thorough investigation of Yangon and the outlying 

 "Pinheiro will most probably be less independent than the ILO experts 
because they came in two teams and he is by himself," one diplomat told 

 "The domain he is covering is larger because it covers all the human 
rights issues including prisoners, whereas the ILO people were only 
focused on forced labor. 

 "But as far as we can see, it is unlikely they will put obstacles in 
the way of his program." 

 Pinheiro won plaudits during his first trip by adopting a 
non-confrontational approach which was welcomed by the notoriously 
touchy Yangon generals. 

 "We consider the visit of Mr. Pinheiro as constructive. We have 
cooperated with him to our utmost," the foreign ministry said after his 

 "We regard him as an honest person," it said, in stark contrast to the 
frosty language used to describe his predecessor, Rajsoomer Lallah, who 
was never given permission to travel to Yangon. 


AP:  U.S. embassy closed in Myanmar for security reasons 

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy and the American school in 
Myanmar's capital were closed Tuesday because of security concerns.
 Barbed wire barricades were erected and riot police have been deployed 
outside the U.S. and British embassies since Monday, following the 
military strikes against Afghanistan, witnesses said.
 Traffic was blocked from a section of Merchant Street in downtown 
Yangon near the U.S. Embassy, causing jams. Barricades and half a dozen 
riot police were also in place outside the British embassy on nearby 
Strand Road, the witnesses said. 

 A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in neighboring Bangkok, Thailand, said it 
was not yet clear if the Yangon embassy would be still closed Wednesday. 
She said the American school also was closed Tuesday because of security 

 Diplomats at the embassy in Yangon did not answer their phones but a 
Myanmar staffer at the embassy said the offices are likely to be closed 
Wednesday also. No other details were available. 

 The British embassy remained open, a diplomat in Bangkok there said. 
 Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a predominantly Buddhist country with 
a small minority of Muslims. There have been isolated incidents of 
religious unrest in recent years. 


BBC: Burma frees prisoners as envoy arrives

 Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK 

A United Nations human rights envoy has arrived in Burma, as the 
military government released five jailed members of the opposition 
National League for Democracy.  

A government statement made no link between the arrival of Paulo Sergio 
Pinheiro and the prisoner releases, which it called a goodwill gesture.  

Mr Pinheiro is on a two-week visit during which he is expected to travel 
outside the capital, Rangoon, to assess civil and political rights in 
the country.  

He is also expected to meet government officials and the opposition 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  
His visit comes just days after a team from the International Labour 
Organisation ended a three-week trip investigating reports of forced 
labour in Burma.  

Mr Pinheiro became the first UN human rights rapporteur to go to Burma 
in five years when he visited in April.  

On that occasion also he met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her 
home but was not allowed leave the capital.  

This time, according to the UN , Mr Pinheiro will visit a number of 
provinces over the next two weeks.  


Burma' military rulers have been repeatedly criticised for human rights 
abuses since they seized power in 1988. In 1990 the junta refused to 
honour the result of democratic elections widely believed to have been 
overwhelmingly won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.  

Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under virtual house arrest since last 
But Mr Pinheiro has spoken of "cautious optimism" within Burma that the 
military are adopting a pragmatic approach on the issue of democracy.  

A UN statement released at the weekend said: "This visit comes at a time 
when Myanmar [Burma] has been taking steps... towards an important 
dialogue both inside and outside of the country in the search for peace 
and national reconciliation." 


Bangkok Post: Economic talks in Rangoon start today 

Gen Sanan to meet Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt 

Wassana Nanuam 

Three days of talks on economic co-operation between Thai 
representatives and Burma's State Peace and Development Council First 
Secretary Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, begin today in Rangoon.

Gen Sanan Kachornklam, secretary to the defence minister's advisory 
team, has been assigned by Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to 
lead a Thai delegation to discuss Thai-Burmese economic ties with Lt-Gen 
Khin Nyunt on Oct 9-11.

Burma reportedly needs help from Thailand for the planned construction 
of a port in Tavoy and many roads such as those linking the Three-Pagoda 
checkpoint to Pok Pian, Kanchanaburi to Tavoy, and Tachilek to Keng 
Tung, Gen Sanan said.

Gen Chavalit is pushing forward a trade and investment promotion plan by 
starting with the setting up of economic affairs co-ordinating offices 
at the border between Mae Sai and Tachilek, Mae Sot and Myawaddy, and 
Ranong and Kawthaung.

After another trade talk will be held in Rangoon in November.

A Thai-Burmese friendship trade fair will be held in Tachilek in January 
next year.

Gen Sanan's delegation is also expected to meet Burma's commerce and 
fisheries ministers to seek fishery concessions for Thai trawlers to 
fish in Burmese waters, following a two-year ban.


Xinhua: Myanmar Airways to Extend Domestic Flights

YANGON, October 9 (Xinhua) -- The Myanma Airways (MA), a state- run 
Myanmar airline, will extend its domestic flights in addition to the 
existing ones, commencing on October 18, according to sources at the MA 
Tuesday. Under the new extended flight schedule, Fokker-27 aircraft of 
the MA will fly from southern Bago division's Toungoo to six 
destinations of Heho, Loikaw, Monghsat, Namsang, Tachilek and Yangon; 
from northern Kachin state's Myitkyina to Bhamo and Putao; and from 
northern city of Mandalay to ten destinations of Bagan, Nyaung U, Bhamo, 
Heho, Kalay, Kengtung, Khanti, Magway, Myitkyina and Tachilek. In 
addition to the state-owned MA, there are two other private- run 
airlines in Myanmar -- Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways, operating on 
internal flights. Meanwhile, the Myanmar Airways International (MAI), 
the country 's single international carrier, has revised its flight 
schedule beginning on October 1 along with the world's other carriers 
following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and 
cutting down some of its services to Bangkok and Singapore. At the same 
time, the MAI has started collecting a surcharge of two U.S. dollars 
from passengers to cover higher insurance premium due to huge losses by 
insurers out of terrorist attacks.


PR Newswire: Seabourn Spirit Adds More Cruises of Vietnam and Myanmar


October 8, 2001 2:01pm

January, February Cruises Feature Free Economy Air, Business Class From 

MIAMI, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Ultra luxury small-ship cruise specialist 
Seabourn Cruise Line has announced added departures of its popular 
cruises to Thailand and Vietnam and Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar in 
January and February of 2002.  The cruises aboard the yacht-like, 
all-suite Seabourn Spirit replace two previously scheduled cruises that 
had included visits to islands of the Indonesian Archipelago. 

The first of the added cruises sails January 19, 2002 for twelve days, 
roundtrip from Singapore to a variety of tropical Thai and Malaysian 
islands, with a three-day call at Yangon, formerly Rangoon, in Myanmar, 
the former Burma.  The extended stay in this venerable Asian capital 
allows exploration of the city's majestic gold-and-jewel-encrusted 
Shwedagon Pagoda, as well as visits to Burma's"Plain of Temple" at 
nearby Pagan.  Guests will be treated to a complimentary Exclusively 
Seabourn visit to the century-old Strand Hotel for refreshments and a 
Burmese musical interlude, recapturing the romance of an era during 
which the Strand was the hostelry of choice among royalty, nobility and 
celebrities passing through the Far East. 


Bangkok Post: PDA makes peace move after clashes 

October 09, 2001.

A Burmese rebel group has extended an olive branch to the Rangoon-backed 
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army after clashes late last month which left 
31 dead. 

``The Parliamentary Democracy Army has no animosity towards the DKBA and 
it is not its policy to purposely attack DKBA units or its 
representatives,'' a PDA statement said. 

It further added that the PDA regarded the ``SPDC (the ruling military 
junta) top brass as the sole enemy of our country and not its troops, 
who have been indoctrinated into joining the army.'' 
After a week-long battle that ended on Sept 20 between the PDA-Karen 
National Union and the DKBA and junta troops, the government forces 
eventually withdrew with 31 killed and 11 wounded. 

The PDA said it regretted the clashes and that no deliberate 
confrontation should take place between its forces and the DKBA in the 


Mizzima: India steps up vigilance along Indo-Burma border

By Our Special Correspondent 

Mizzima News  

Guwahati, Oct. 9: Personnel of the Army, the Border Security Force 
(BSF), and the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) engaged in guarding 
the Indo-Burma border have intensified patrolling aftermath of the 
US-led attack on Afghanistan.  Five more companies of the CRPF have been 
deployed as reinforcement along the Arunachal-Burma border.  High-level 
officials sources, not wanting to be named told Mizzima News 
correspondent that the Indo-Burma border has remained sensitive in view 
of spurt of activity of local militant groups.  

"The Mon, Naklak and Laju areas of Nagaland (bordering Burma) have been 
kept under strict surveillance so that underground outfits cannot sneak 
into the area, taking advantage of the terrain", sources said .  It was 
also reported that security forces have been provided heavy arsenal to 
thwart any possible attack of the miscreants. 
?Apart from Nagaland, we are keeping a close watch on the Manipur?Burma 
border where several militant groups are now active?, the correspondent 
was told.  A total of 15 BSF companies have been engaged in 
counter-insurgency operations along the Manipur-Burma border. BSF 
companies engaged in Counter-insurgency operations along the Indo-Bhutan 
border were deployed in Manipur following violence perpetrated by the 

There are seven Muslim militant groups led by Muslim United Liberation 
of Tigers Association (MULTA) in the region.  Sources revealed that 
Muslim fundamentalists might try to create disturbance in the region in 
collaboration with other militants groups in the region .  

Meanwhile , the Director General of the BSF, Gurbachand Jagat, visited 
the Indo-Burma (Myanmar) border on Sunday of last week in order to 
assess the situation in Manipur. During his visit to Khonghampat and 
Churachandpur in Manipur, Mr Jagat admitted that the issue of insurgent 
militancy in the North East is more complex than the situation found in 
Kashmir.  He added that local people had failed to detect the movement 
of militants, further complicating the counter-insurgency operation.  
The DG also advocated the deployment of more  BSF personnel along the 
Indo-Burma border, keeping in view the increased volume of activities of 
the militants who are taking advantage of neighbouring countries' 

Security has also been tightened along the Indo-Bangladesh border 
following the attack of the US-led coalition on Afghanistan. The DIG 
(Director Inspector General) western range, SC Srivastab, stated that a 
one hundred kilometer stretch of the border, from Mancachar to Ramrai 
Kutti, has been kept under strict surveillance in order to prevent 
Muslim fundamentalists from coming across the border. Mr Srivastab added 
that the Indo-Bangladesh border is well under control, and BSF personnel 
are ready to face any eventuality. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

European Union: Extension of EU Common Position (sanctions) on Burma for 
six months

Council of the European Union   
(General Affairs Council 08/10) 

The European Union has long urged the restoration of democracy, the 
pursuit of national reconciliation and the protection of human rights in 
Burma/Myanmar in the interest of all the peoples of the country. The 
European Union has been following recent developments in Burma/Myanmar 
with close attention. The Council was cautiously encouraged by the 
improvement in the political climate there. It welcomed the release of a 
growing number of political prisoners, the opening of a number of NLD 
party offices and the resumption of contacts with the International 
Labour Organisation (ILO). It expressed its strong support for the 
efforts of UN Special Envoy, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, to promote national 

The Council recognised, however, at the same time that these contacts 
and positive developments could only be the beginning of a wider and 
deeper process, which should, in the Council's view, lead to a 
transition to civilian democratic government. The Council called for the 
acceleration of the ongoing process of liberation of all remaining 
political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Council also 
emphasised the importance of seeing a verifiable end to the practice of 
forced labour, in line with the demands of the ILO General Conference. 
The authorities in Burma/Myanmar should co-operate fully with the ILO 
and grant the Organisation permanent access to the country. The Council 
will analyse carefully and draw conclusions from the forthcoming report 
of the high-level ILO mission to Burma/Myanmar and will also await with 
interest the report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in 

The Council agreed to extend the common position of the European Union 
for a further six months until 29 April 2002 while bringing it in line 
with Member States' obligations under the UN Charter to grant visas to 
allow attendance at United Nations meetings or conferences held within 
their territory. The Council specifically stressed its readiness to 
accompany the deepening of the reconciliation process with humanitarian 
assistance which it regarded as entirely compatible with the common 
position. The Council identified a number of positive measures designed 
to recognise the process that has been set in motion in Burma/Myanmar in 
expectation of further positive developments:  

- In consultation with all relevant parties, including the NLD, the 
European Union is prepared to play a more active role in helping 
Burma/Myanmar confront the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The Council wished to 
convey to the parties in Burma/Myanmar its view that the HIV/AIDS 
situation is such that determined measures need to be taken urgently. 
The Council therefore welcomed the Commission's intention to provide a 
contribution of up to 5 MEuros to the activities identified in the 
framework of the Joint Plan of Action elaborated by the UN Agencies in 
response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Burma/Myanmar. This aid will be 
delivered through independent non-governmental organisations or 
international agencies with the view to reach the communities in the 
most needy areas. 

- EU Member States would also seek to make significant contributions to 
these same UN activities; 

- The European Union would invite the Foreign Minister of Burma/Myanmar 
to the next EU-ASEAN Ministerial meeting, which is due to be held in 
Europe in 2002. A visa would be granted to him for that purpose; 

- Member States concerned will support Burma/Myanmar's application to 
join the International Hydrographic Organisation; 

- Member States concerned may consider and advise the authorities in 
Burma/Myanmar of what steps Burma/Myanmar needs to take to qualify for 
bilateral debt relief under the IMF/IBRD's "Heavily Indebted Poor 
Countries" Initiative; 

- The European Union is willing to send a further Troika mission before 
the end of this year to explain these decisions, to discuss their 
follow-up with the Government, SPDC, NLD and the ethnic nationalities 
and to explore the prospects for further measures, which could follow 
accelerated progress in Burma/Myanmar's national reconciliation process. 

The Council agreed to reconsider the measures taken today, as well as 
the common position, at any time should developments in Burma/Myanmar, 
either positive or negative, so require.


Bangkok Post: The deadly danger of Aids and drugs 

- October 09, 2001.

The greatest threat to Thailand and Southeast Asia is the two-headed 
Hydra of drugs and Aids. Drug abuse and the killer syndrome are directly 
linked. As one increases, so does the other. Risky abuse of drugs, 
particularly the use of shared needles, directly spreads Aids. Drug 
abusers are far less likely to worry about unprotected sex. The more 
drugs, the more abuse _ the more abuse, the more Aids. These twin 
attacks represent the greatest security threat to our country and 

In recent weeks, the world has focussed on terrorism. Officials have 
revived and increased anti-terrorist measures, particularly tracking and 
blocking the accounts and transfers of terrorists' funds. The mass 
killing of people from 80 countries in the United States on Sept 11 has 
convinced people everywhere they must co-operate against the terrorists, 
or they will be in increasing danger. 
The ``wars'' against drugs and Aids must also be given high priority. 
Although there are huge differences between the wars on terrorism and 
drugs, some of the new emphasis on fighting terrorists can be turned 
against the drug merchants, producers and traffickers. Attacks must be 
made and stepped up on their bank accounts, financial resources, 
ill-gotten gains and luxurious life styles. As with terrorists, we must 
recognise that drug traffickers are great and present threats to our 
people and the national security of Thailand and our neighbours. They 
may not kill with bombs or hijackings, but drug traffickers kill and 
ruin the lives of families just the same. 

The war on drugs must be improved because it is being lost. The battle 
against Aids is still undecided. Last week, the Joint United Nations 
Programme on HIV/Aids reported bad news. While Thailand and Cambodia 
have stalled the advance of HIV/Aids, much of the rest of Asia has not. 
Indonesia, Vietnam and China have been so lackadaisical, so inefficient 
and so inattentive that they already have epidemics in many regions. In 
Ho Chi Minh City, 20% of sex workers and clients have tested positive 
for HIV, and the rate is 26% in Jakarta and two other Indonesian cities. 
In Guangxi, China, infections rose to 10.7% from 9.9% in the last six 
months of last year. 

Sharing information and experiences has seen great benefits in fighting 
Aids. Health workers, NGOs, communities and governments have worked 
together against a common enemy. It would seem logical that these same 
leaders and community workers would realise the advantages, and attempt 
to widen the scope. But they face the same old problems. It is no 
accident that the secretive countries have the greatest Aids problems. 
China's communists, Burma's dictators and Vietnam's security agents jail 
citizens for sharing information. 

Still, it has been eight years since the six nations at the centre of 
the regional drug epidemic agreed to share information against drug 
traffickers, money launderers and their minions. Unfortunately, Burma, 
Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have failed to step up and 
stamp out the drugs trade. 

It is time they did. It would increase vigilance against cross-border 
crime as part of urgent, new initiatives to combat terrorism. Properly 
designed, with careful reporting procedures, it also would pursue drug 
traffickers. It will be necessary to convince Burma to join this effort. 
If necessary, officials must be prepared to ``go public'' with 
information that links the Rangoon regime to drug dealers, just as 
information now is being released on the bin Laden connection to 

The battle against Aids has just begun. It cannot succeed in isolation; 
it must be international in scope. And those involved must realise, and 
combat, the links between the disease and illicit drugs.


Free Burma Coalition: New Date for Free Burma Coalition Conference

Dear Free Burma friends and colleagues,

We are happy to announce that "Our Cause", the Fifth Annual Working  
Conference of the Free Burma Coalition, is scheduled from October 27-29, 
 2001, at American University in Washington, DC.  The conference had 
been  previously scheduled for September 21-23 at the same location but 
was  postponed after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, 

Please note that the conference will be held on a Saturday, Sunday, and  
Monday instead of Friday-Sunday as previously planned.  Monday will be  
dedicated to lobbying work at the Congress.

I will be re-posting the conference registration form on the FBC web 
page  tonight (Wednesday, October 3).  Please re-register so we get a 
good count  of how many people are coming!

I am also working to reconstruct the schedule, and will post that as 
soon  as possible on the web page.

I'm excited to see you all there, and of course there is still free 
housing  for those who want it!

Jeremy Woodrum
Free Burma Coalition
1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE, #204
Washington, DC 20003
202-544-6118 fax


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