Pushing through a sudden regime change in Myanmar could
create another Iraq and leave the country engulfed in violence, the head of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) warned Monday.
ASEAN secretary general Ong Keng Yong said regime change in Myanmar would have dire regional implications and that the best outcome was to thrash out a consensus between the military and the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ong said sudden change was not a realistic solution for Myanmar, one of the blocs 10 members.
Whether you are in ASEAN or not, if you sit back and understand the constitution and make-up of Myanmar and you say you want to have a regime change, you are going to create another Iraq, he told AFP.
Its an Iraqi situation because there are at least 17 different major factions making up the population of Myanmar.
Just look at Iraq. They (US-led forces) removed the former Iraqi army, the former Iraqi police and now what is happening? I think regime change is a very fashionable buzzword in certain quarters but it is not realistic.
Myanmars ruling generals sparked global outrage when soldiers and riot police used weapons to disperse anti-government demonstrations last month, killing at least 13 people.
More than 2,000 people were arrested following the protests the biggest against the military government in almost 20 years.
UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari currently on a swing through Southeast Asia to push nations in the region to pressure the regime met Monday in Bangkok with Thai leaders.
Ong said regime change should not be part of the solution.
If we look at the next step as a regime change, that is not really realistic. Even if you can force it onto the situation in Myanmar, that is very, very dangerous, he said.
Singapore, which currently holds ASEANs rotating chair, has said the generals must be part of any peaceful solution.
ASEAN admitted Myanmar to its ranks in 1997, and the group has long had a policy of non-interference in the countrys affairs.
However, using unusually sharp language, ASEAN foreign ministers voiced their revulsion at the juntas crackdown last month.
Ong also said pushing Myanmar too hard might drive the junta towards China, which could gain strategic access to the Indian Ocean, a move which would have geopolitical implications for countries bordering the ocean and Western navies.
At this moment, China is not a littoral state of the Indian Ocean. But if the Myanmar government decides to throw caution to the wind and go with the Chinese, China will become a littoral component of the Indian Ocean, he said.
So if you sit back and look at the real politics of it, I think you will have to accept the inevitable conclusion that the position of Myanmar is not something that anybody can just take for granted.
As well as Myanmar and Singapore, ASEAN also includes
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and
Agence France Presse: Mon 15 Oct 2007
Thailand on Monday proposed that the United Nations
organise multiparty talks to bring together Myanmars neighbours for discussions
with the military junta on resolving the nations crisis.
Thailands army-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said he made the recommendation during his talks with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is on an Asian tour aimed at winning support among Myanmars neighbours for tougher action against the junta.
Surayud said the talks would bring together officials from the military regime and its neighbours China and India as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which counts Thailand and Myanmar as members.
We suggested the United Nations should set up talks with ASEAN, China and India to end the unrest in Myanmar unconditionally in the same way that the UN did for the North Korean (nuclear) talks, Surayud told reporters.
He urged Gambari to bring up the proposal with Chinese and Indian leaders as one way to search for practical solutions to Myanmars troubles.
The military has ruled for 45 years in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, but last month Buddhist monks led up to 100,000 people in the streets of Yangon in the biggest challenge to the regime for nearly two decades.
The regime responded violently, ordering soldiers into the streets in a crackdown that left at least 13 dead and more than 2,000 locked up.
Amid international outrage at the violence, the United Nations sent Gambari to Myanmar last month to meet with junta chief Than Shwe and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Gambari is set to return to Myanmar in mid-November, but Surayud said he would send a letter to the junta asking that the envoy be allowed to visit before the end of October.
We will ask that he be allowed to stay there long enough for him to complete his mission, he added.
About 20 protesters gathered outside Surayuds offices as he met with Gambari.
Dressed in red, the colour of the student movement that led a 1988 pro-democracy uprising, they shouted, Gambari, Free Burma!
Some held pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 12 of
the last 18 years under house arrest, and waved placards saying UN act now.
Agence France Presse: Mon 15 Oct 2007
European foreign ministers meeting in
Luxembourg on Monday were set to beef up the EUs sanctions against Myanmar,
introducing an embargo on timber, gems and metals.
In view of the seriousness of the current situation and in solidarity with the people of Burma/Myanmar, the EU deems it necessary to increase direct pressure on the regime through stronger measures, said the ministers draft agreement.
The situation in Burma (Myanmar) is of huge concern to the people of te UK and across the European Union, said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband as he arrived for the talks.
The import bans, for which no implementation date was specified in the draft text, will notably affect Myanmars teak and jade trade.
The measure was to be addressed on a full day for the foreign ministers who will also notably discuss the EU reform treaty and Irans nuclear ambitions.
The Myanmar sanctions will cover the import of Myanmar timber, metals, minerals and precious and semi-precious stones, according to the draft text, which adds that the measures are designed to do no harm to the general population.
The European Union would at the same time confirm the continuation of substantial humanitarian aid programmes aimed at the most vulnerable populations.
If the Myanmar regime creates a political process involving all the parties in Burma then there will be economic incentives and economic support for the people of Burma, Miliband said.
If the regime refuses then obviously there will be further sanctions, he added.
The EU ministers will also express their support for the UN special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, and back further UN engagement, including by the Security Council.
Our measures aim to reinforce the message of Mr Gambari Indeed he is the only one who has a chance for leverage at this moment, said EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
I support a delayed entering into force of additional restrictive measures to show our resolve to act, on the one hand, but also to give to give the mission of UN special envoy Gambari the necessary leeway.
I think he should have sticks and carrots in order to be able to work, she added.
The EU already has broad sanctions in place against Myanmars leadership and their families with 375 people on a visa-ban, asset-freeze list and officials have stressed the importance of putting pressure on neighbouring countries and in particular China and India.
The statement drawn up for the foreign ministers also strongly condemns the brutal crackdown on demonstrators led by Buddhist monks in Myanmar and urges the regime to exercise restraint.
The EU measures will spare the energy sector and therefore the activities of the French group Total in the country.
The foreign ministers draft text stipulates that the EU stands ready to review, amend or reinforce the measures in view of Gambaris progress.
The clear message to the regime is that they must engage with the process being led by Ambassador Gambari, said Miliband.
Gambari demanded on Monday that Myanmars ruling junta immediately stop arresting pro-democracy activists and targeting dissidents, saying the crackdown was extremely disturbing.
While flagging their intentions to boost sanctions in recent weeks, EU officials have stressed that they have a limited effect on a regime already greatly isolated by the West.
More than 90 percent of Myanmars
business is done with Asian nations, especially China and India.
International Herald Tribune: Mon 15 Oct 2007
The world has reacted with horror to the Burmese regimes
brutal crackdown against its own people. Monks, nuns and ordinary citizens took
to the streets peacefully in protest at the deterioration of the economic
situation in the country. They were met with guns and batons.
We cannot know for sure the number of those who were killed, but it is likely to be many more than the regime is willing to admit. The whereabouts and welfare of many who have been detained remain uncertain. Meanwhile, the persecution continues: The security forces carry out new raids and new arrests every night.
It is vital that international pressure on the Burmese regime is maintained. The generals may have hoped that by shutting off the Internet and targeting the media they could hide their crimes from the eyes of the world. If so, they have failed. This horrific repression has provoked disgust and anger across the globe.
The immediate priority is to end the violence and secure the release of all of the political detainees. At the same time, it is vital that the regime works urgently with the UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to establish a genuine process of national reconciliation.
That process will need to be very different from the widely discredited National Convention Process over which the regime has labored for many years without winning the confidence of Burmas population. It must involve Aung San Suu Kyi and the leaders of all Burmas political opposition and ethnic groups. And it must have international legitimacy, with the United Nations and Burmas neighbors closely engaged.
Everyone who has influence on the Burmese regime must now use it to convince them of this new reality. The generals have now seen a very strong statement by the UN Security Council deploring the violence, calling for the release of all political prisoners and supporting genuine dialogue with all concerned parties and ethnic groups in Burma.
The junta will have heard members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations express their revulsion at the recent violence by the security forces. China, as well as joining the Security Council statement, directly supported Gambaris recent visit to Burma.
Other neighbors - India and Thailand, for example - can also play a vital role in helping to build a better future for the people of Burma. It is clear that for Asean in particular turning a blind eye to such a repressive government would damage its credibility and jeopardize the whole process of democratization and development of the region.
Last month, as the demonstrations grew in intensity, the European Union made it plain that it would not hesitate to impose tougher measures against the regime if it resorted to force against peaceful demonstrators. Sadly, the regime failed to heed this, and many similar, warnings. So Europes foreign ministers will be meeting on Monday to discuss how to toughen up sanctions against the Burmese regime.
EU sanctions currently include a travel ban and asset freeze on specific individuals and a ban on commercial dealings with specific state companies with close ties to the regime. On Monday, the European Union will target those sectors from which the regime draws much of its revenue, including timber, precious metals and gems, and will make clear that whether further measures are imposed will depend entirely on the regimes willingness to allow genuine political progress.
All the signs point to a regime that feels the pressure. These new measures will help to maintain that pressure by focusing on the business interests of the regime rather than the wider population.
The EU must also offer positive incentives for progress. The EU needs to consider a package of positive measures to the Burmese people should the regime show its willingness to genuinely work for reconciliation. In the meantime, we will continue to provide vital humanitarian assistance to the Burmese people in order to alleviate the suffering of the population.
EU sanctions, of course, can only be part of a wider process aimed at creating genuine reconciliation in Burma.
The key role must be played by the Burmese people themselves, in all their diversity. This will be demanding; Burma, as some scholars have said, is a fragile unfinished mosaic, with dozens of ethnic minorities, idioms and cultures. Burmas regional partners have understandable concerns that the necessary political changes should not endanger regional stability. So the process must be broad-based and inclusive. And, as Aung San Suu Kyi has said, the military must play an important part in a future democratic Burma. But the military dictatorship must end.
The Burmese people have been denied democracy and economic development for 45 years. They have taken to the streets once again and, in the face of horrific violence, demanded a better future. Its high time their leaders responded.
* Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband are foreign
ministers, respectively, of France and Britain.
National League for Democracy: Mon 15 Oct 2007
National League for Democracy (NLD)
General Secretary was put under house arrest by the authority for the first time
from 20th July 1989 to 10th July 1995. On the next day after being released from
her house arrest, she said at press conference attended by foreign reporters in
English, We have to choose either dialogue or utter devastation. She just
compared dialogue and utter devastation to choose.
At another press conference held at NLD HQ on 6th May 2002, she said, I see sanction is the tool imposed by a democratic country on another country to achieve democracy. In fact, it must stress on the long term interest of the people rather than short term interest. Face to face and friendly dialogue can resolve all problems. We never asked for sanctions.
Moreover, she said, Ive never wavered on my stand to achieve democracy only by peaceful means, because it is very important for the future of Burma. If we cannot achieve democracy by peaceful means, the people must suffer a lot of woes and troubles in future. Weve never emphasized only on confrontation.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (DASSK) made her
tour on the prescribed dates and places in
consultation with the authority concerned. On her Upper Burma tour, she had a chance to see projects being undertaken with the permission of the authority. Upon her arrival from the trip, she even tried to get the equipments and tools required in a project.
She called for convening Parliament in 1998 with the consensus of all the delegates of States, Divisions and Townships NLD Organizing Committees. Then the authority detained MPs for a long period in the pretext of discussing with them. Calling for convening Parliament is absolutely not the confrontation. It is made in accordance with the Pyithuhluttaw (Parliament) Act enacted by the authority themselves.
NLD delegates attending NC sent an official letter to the concerned authority to discuss on NC Procedural Codes while they were attending NC from 1993 to 1995. But the authority ignored our letter and at last NLD delegates left NC by consensus, sent another official letter to the authority concerned informing them that the NLD delegates will wait until the discussion on said procedural code possible and have been waiting for their reply. It has nothing to do with DASSK.
DASSK said on dialogue at the press conference held on 6th May 2002 held at NLD HQ, Our NLD has frequently said we are flexible to enter into dialogue to achieve good result from it for the entire people.
Similarly on 4th January 2003, at the 55th Anniversary Independence Day celebration, she said, Our reconciliation spirit, dialogue spirit, unity and amity spirit for the entire country have never been dwindled. We have no personal grudge against anyone. Resolving problems is the most important thing. We never hesitate to join hands with any organization, any institution, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) or Tatmadaw (Army). We can join hands with anyone for the country.
Seeking solution by dialogue to resolve
the problems for the sake of country and the people is the normal phenomenon.
The success of dialogue depends on the sincerity, give and take attitude on
win-win situation, of all the parties concerned. The commitment and motivation
for success of the dialogue is also very much important. Moreover, if one wishes
to resolve the problems really and sincerely, there will not be pre-conditions
for the dialogue. The main necessity to resolve the current and immediate
the will to enter into dialogue.
We hereby announce that we intend all these true facts and points known by the entire people.
By resolution reached at CEC meeting
held at Party HQ on 8th October 2007
Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy
No. 97/B, West Shwegondaing Road,
Bahan Township, Yangon
Dated: 9th October 2007
13th Waning day of Tawthalin, 1396 BE
2007 Generation Students Union: Mon 15 Oct 2007
The truth is that the people are constantly hearing profuse
grumbles about encountering unprecedented troubles in the country.
The truth is that people are seeing with anguish soldiers raiding monasteries as in battlefield, razing the temples, arresting, beating and forcibly defrocking hundreds of monks, coercing simple persons to testify as witnesses, and arresting and beating young people (assets of future) on all kinds of pretexts.
The truth not printed in dailies is that monks, students, youth and people are fleeing or hiding from all these unsanctioned distresses day and night, not daring to live, sleep or eat in their own country, on their own soil, in their own home or monastery.
The realistic truth is that, in order to see the countrys future shining gloriously in the world, students and people should not let this abusive tyranny and evil system of laws continue to exist.
The truth not aired on TV news is that the current situation and suffering of the people is such that lives of people could not survive or improve under the abusive administration and that a days earnings are not sufficient for a mornings meal.
The events encountered by us new generations and the people bears proof to the absolute justification of demands for human rights, sacrifices and struggles by previous successive elder generations.
We 2007 Generation would completely smash the evil regime by consciously sharing the historical traditions of elder student brothers who have served their duty. The resolve of youth and people has been invigorated.
Though we students have been positioned to be far-flung
from our parental people and not to congregate with each other, we must strive
for assembly so as to speedily remove the evil regime with uniform minds and
unity of strength. We urge all to implement in practice prosperity of entire
people of all ethnicity regardless of class or strata and reject enrichment of a
handful of despots.
The Boston Globe: Mon 15 Oct 2007
When arguing for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council or assuring the Bush administration that India can be trusted with American nuclear technology - even though it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Indian officials recite the mantra that India is the worlds biggest democracy. But Indias shameful collaboration with the military junta in Myanmar that has been arresting and killing Buddhist monks and civilian protesters raises a serious question: Is India betraying its democratic values for the sake of its great-power ambitions?
There is no mystery about the reasons for Indias complicity with Myanmars generals. There are purely commercial motives, a thirst for access to Myanmars oil and natural gas reserves. Theres a desire to gain the juntas cooperation in crushing insurgent groups that have been crossing from Myanmar into Indias northeast to mount guerrilla operations. But above all, India has abandoned solidarity with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues because Indian policy makers are obsessed by their strategic competition with China.
There is a tragic dimension to Indias practice of realpolitik in its contest with China. Domestically, India is the antithesis of China. The Communists in Beijing rule a hierarchical one-party state; Indias multiparty system accommodates many disparate interests. The regime in Beijing throws reporters in jail for revealing state secrets if they publish news about high-level appointments before those promotions are officially disclosed. India boasts a diverse and cantankerous free press.
But when India sets out to compete with China in a 21st-century version of the Great Game once played by European colonialist powers, India transforms its outward appearance into a mirror image of China. In Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, Indias betrayal of its own national identity has become an embarrassing spectacle.
India had once been Suu Kyis most ardent supporter. She lived in India for several years with her late husband; her mother once served as Myanmars ambassador to India. And of course Buddhism sprang from India.
But when Human Rights Watch called last week for a Security Council arms embargo on the junta, it named India along with China and Russia as nations supplying Burma with weapons that the military uses to commit human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch described a vast array of military hardware India has supplied to the junta, including artillery, aircraft, tanks, and helicopters for use against minority ethnic groups in border areas and citizen protesters.
In other words, India sells some of the worlds most
vicious dictators weapons to kill people in Myanmar who yearn for democracy.
This is not the behavior of a true democracy.