Daily News-October 24 - 2001- Wednesday

  • Anti-Muslim Riot in Hinthada Township
  • Malaysian premier discusses about Burma with Japan's Koizum
  • More NLD Offices Allowed To Re-Open
  • Myanmar Pledges to Cooperate With U.N.

  • Anti-Muslim Riot in Hinthada Township

    By Ko Thet
    The Irrawaddy

    October 23, 2001--Buddhist monks and Muslims rioted last Saturday night in Hinthada Township, in the Irrawaddy division, according to a Hinthada resident. The riot began in a Muslim-owned tea-shop over a quarrel between the proprietor and monks. Authorities had declared an urgent curfew earlier that night, the source added.

    "Hinthada is half-Muslim, so the riot spread quickly through the entire town," a truck driver said. "The riot was not only fighting between Muslims and Buddhist monks, but rioters were also setting fire to houses,"

    When the Irrawaddy contacted regional police from Hinthada, an officer denied any report of the riot. Media groups inside the country are also silent on the subject. A spokesman for a weekly journal said that they had heard news of the riot but had not been given permission to cover it in their publication.

    Heavy security has been deployed near mosques and Muslim areas in Rangoon. A tutor from the Hlaingtharyar Technological University (HTU) said that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) was afraid to interfere, worried that the direction of the violence might shift from Muslims to the military government. This incident marks the fourth anti-Muslim riot in a Burmese city this month.
    Malaysian premier discusses about Burma with Japan's Koizumi

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Oct 23, 2001
    Text of report in English by Malaysian news agency Bernama web site

    Qingdao, (China) 22 October: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Japan is keen to have a closer relationship with Myanmar [Burma].

    The prime minister said this was indicated by his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi during a bilateral meeting in Shanghai earlier today. They were among world leaders present in Shanghai to attend the ninth economic leaders meeting under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum which ended yesterday.

    Dr Mahathir said Koizumi had also wanted to know about the relationship between Malaysia and Myanmar.

    "I told him about the conditions in Myanmar and why the process of democratic recovery will take time," he told Malaysian reporters at a press conference here Monday.

    Myanmar is a member of ASEAN. Other members are Brunei, Cambodia,Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
    More NLD Offices Allowed To Re-Open

    By Zarny Win
    The Irrawaddy

    October 23, 2001—Another branch office of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) was allowed to re-open today in Rangoon.

    The Thinggangyun Township branch is the twenty-third office to unlock its doors after talks between NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military government began at the end of last year. Like all NLD offices around the country, it was forcibly shut down in 1991.

    "To reopen [the Thinggangyun office], we had to deal with the local authorities for months, even though the military government had already agreed to reopen the branches in Rangoon," said a local NLD member who did not want to give his name. He added that hundreds of branches in other parts of the country are still closed down.

    The NLD won a landslide victory in the 1990 general election but was not allowed to take power. Afterwards, the military regime shut almost all branch offices around the country, and put hundreds of members behind bars. But recent talks and international pressure are creating some change in the situation.

    In the words of government publicity, one "result of the understanding achieved between the military government and the NLD" in recent talks has been the release of over one hundred NLD activists and the re-opening of some NLD branches.

    The NLD members themselves, however, are not seeing any real change. "I cannot see that the current political condition of our country is improving, just because a few NLD branches are allowed to reopen," said Zin Linn, a high ranking member of the Thinggangyun Township NLD branch, now in exile. "The branches are not allowed to have political activities, such as gatherings and meetings." He added that the military government is playing a skillful political game in order to stay in power as long as possible.
    Myanmar Pledges to Cooperate With U.N.

    YANGON, October 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar pledged on Wednesday to fully cooperate with the United Nations (U.N.) in realizing the noble objectives of the organization."The Union of Myanmar, as a member nation of the U.N. organization, is certain to fully cooperate with the U.N. organization in translating the noble purposes of the organization into action," said official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar in an article marking the 56th anniversary of the U.N. Day.

    The article maintained that the materialization of the purposes and objectives of the U.N. relies fully on the support and cooperation of all member nations.The four purposes of the U.N. include maintenance of international peace and security, development of friendly relations among nations, cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and being a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these common ends.

    The article stressed that cooperation with the U.N. is one of the main points in Myanmar's foreign policy which it described as an independent and active one based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

    It noted that Myanmar, since becoming a member of the U.N., has been cooperating with the U.N. agencies and actively taking part in the organization's programs.The U.N. came into existence on October 24, 1945, beginning with 51 member countries and the membership has now increased to 192 nations.

    Myanmar became a U.N. member on July 19, 1948, more than six months after it regained independence on January 4 that year and was the 58th member of it then.U Thant from Myanmar held the post of U.N. secretary-general during the period from 1961 to 1971.