CHRONOLOGY 1998
covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

CHRONOLOGY 1998


By The Irrawaddy Thursday, January 1, 1998


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(Page 17 of 27)

Under Burmese law it is illegal for a political party or politician to accept donations from abroad.

Venerable politicians urge talk

A group of veteran Burmese politicians wrote to the military government urging it to hold a dialogue with the NLD.

The letter said a dialogue between Slorc leaders and the NLD was the only hope for the nation which it said was mired in an economic and political crisis.

The letter was signed by 23 politicians, including former colleagues of Suu Kyi’s father, national hero General Aung San.

“We humbly appeal to the Slorc and representatives of the NLD which include Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to meet and discuss how to get over the crisis of the country for the benefit of the entire nation,” the three-page letter said.

September

Rangoon threatens action on sanctions

Burma announced plans to take the United States to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over sanctions imposed by US states and cities which blacklist companies investing in Burma, an official said.

Noting that the European Union, backed by Japan, was already taking the US to the WTO, a Slorc minister said, “When we have the next WTO meeting, we will take it up also.”

Slorc accuses UK of hypocrisy on drugs

The junta attacked the British for accusing Rangoon of profiting from the drugs trade.

“The British Foreign Secretary’s statement criticising Myanmar on the involvement in narcotics drugs is regarded here as the century’s greatest hypocritical statement,” a government official said.

“The drug problem which we are encountering today is the direct result of Britain’s colonial strategy of 150 years ago,” he added.

“Britain should actually be taking the lead in assisting the victim countries clean up the mess she had originally and internationally created, instead of pointing fingers.”

Leaders will not be given visas says Cook

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook ruled out Burma’s participation in an Asia-Europe summit next April in London as Burmese leaders would be refused visas to the country.

“I have not found any problem expressed on this because the Asem meeting is not a dialogue between the European Union and Asean.

It’s a dialogue between the European countries and some Asian countries at which membership is resolved by consensus...and indeed the Asean members do understand our difficulties with Myanmar,” Cook explained.

The Asem now groups 10 East Asian countries including China, Japan, South Korea, the Asean economies — excluding Burma and Laos — as well as the 15 EU members.

UN team reports severe damage in floods

A UN disaster management team reported serious flooding in Burma leading to heavy damage and loss of life, a Japanese embassy statement said.

“Unusually heavy rainfalls in the last week of July 1997 have caused flash floods in many parts of the country, particularly in Mon State and the Pegu and Irrawaddy Divisions,” the statement cited a UN report as saying.

Low-lying areas in Pegu and Irrawaddy, with Rangoon, provide the bulk of Burma’s rice for its population of 47 million.

“This has resulted in substantial damage and loss of life. The total number of persons affected [in the three areas] were 103,650 persons from 20,451 households,” the report said.

US denies issuing Suu Kyi permit

A spokesman for the US State Department said it had no knowledge of reports that Aung San Suu Kyi used her high profile to obtain a green card to the United States.

“We are very supportive of her, but I have not heard anything about a green card,” James P. Rubin said.



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