Daily News- August 04- 2002- Sunday

  • Junta says relations with Suu Kyi much better now
  • Myanmar increases beans, pulses export in 2001-02

  • Junta says relations with Suu Kyi much better now

    By AYE AYE WIN-Associated Press Writer

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Relations between Myanmar's military regime and the political opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi have improved vastly in the last 1 1/2 years, a senior junta official told the visiting Japanese foreign minister Sunday.

    Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the No. 3 leader in the regime, also told Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi that the reconciliation process between the government and Suu Kyi is on track, a Japanese diplomat said.

    Khin Nyunt and Kawaguchi held nearly two hours of talks on the second day of her visit, the first by a Japanese foreign minister to Myanmar in 19 years.

    Khin Nyunt told Kawaguchi that there have been contacts between "ministerial- level officials" and top leaders of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, and that the 1991 Nobel peace laureate was present at some of the meetings, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.The diplomat did not say if Khin Nyunt meant that the talks were held after Suu Kyi's release from house arrest on May 6 or if he was referring to meetings held while she was still in detention.Suu Kyi has expressed concern that she has not had a single meeting with the ruling generals since her release.

    The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations, and annulled the results of a 1990 election that was won by the National League for Democracy. It jailed several of the party's leaders and suppressed all political activity.Suu Kyi herself spent much of the last 14 years under house arrest, the latest stretch lasting 19 months. Her release was secured partly by the efforts of U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail, who initiated the reconciliation talks in October 2000.

    Razali is also in Yangon at present to provide momentum to the talks. He is scheduled to meet with Kawaguchi later Sunday, the Japanese diplomat said.

    He quoted Khin Nyunt as telling Kawaguchi that Suu Kyi's party had "taken a very confrontational stand" for more than a decade after 1988 but that its relations with the junta had "changed for the better since the talks began in 2000."

    Khin Nyunt said relations have been "good" for the last year and a half, and added that the government will continue to pursue political dialogue, the diplomat said.

    Kawaguchi is scheduled to meet with Suu Kyi on Monday, which will make her the highest ranking official from an industrialized nation to meet the opposition leader since her release.The diplomat said Kawaguchi expressed Japan's appreciation that Myanmar's government had allowed Suu Kyi to travel unhindered.

    Japan carries considerable clout with the Myanmar government _ it is the biggest aid donor to the country and has not been as harshly critical as the West of the junta's human rights and anti-democracy record.Japan suspended its Official Development Assistance for major projects in Myanmar in 1988. Still, it contributes 2 billion yen (dlrs 16 million) a year for small rural projects and has pledged funds to renovate a power plant.Kawaguchi told Khin Nyunt that the Japanese government will to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.

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    Myanmar increases beans, pulses export in 2001-02

    YANGON, Aug 4, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar exported 1.034 million tons of various beans and pulses in the fiscal year of 2001-02 which ended in March, 24.3 percent more than 2000-01, according to the latest figures from the state-run Myanma Agricultural Produces Trading.

    The agricultural products export fetched 283.2 million US dollars, a 9.3 percent increase over the previous year.The earnings from the export of beans and pulses accounted for 11 percent of the country's total export during the year.

    According to official statistics, Myanmar cultivated 3.07 million hectares of beans and pulses in 2001-02 and is targeted to plant 3.1 million hectares of beans in next year.

    Myanmar claimed it has become the world's second largest pulses exporter after Canada.The country exported its pulses mainly to India and Japan, and new markets are being sought in Jordan and Pakistan.Its most popular pulses export items include black gram, green beans and pigeon peas.

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