Daily News- January 15 - 2002- Tuesday

  • Razali Likely to Return Soon
  • Ministry not against statue
  • Security tightened up for trade fair
  • Myanmar-China trade rising
  • Japan To Aid Myanmar's Scholarship Project
  • Thai Soldier Killed Along Myanmar Border

  • Razali Likely to Return Soon

    By Win Htein
    the Irrawaddy

    January 14, 2002 UN special envoy to Burma Razali Ismail is rumored to be returning to Rangoon in February in a bid to finalize reconciliation talks between the ruling military regime and the opposition Nation League for Democracy (NLD), according to a source close to Razali.

    ''He will arrive here on February 3 and stay until February 8,'' said a Rangoon-based politician after meeting with a Razali aid. ''I hope that significant progress can occur this time, Razali promised last December that he would draw a political map for 2002.''

    On Thursday, during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in Kuala Lumpur, Razali said there has been significant progress in the reconciliation talks. Although Razali himself did not cite specific dates for his upcoming visit he did tell reporters that he hoped to return to Rangoon soon in order to keep the talks moving. The Japanese Prime Minister promised to provide aid to Burma in hopes of assisting with the transition to democracy.

    The trip marks the seventh visit by Razali since being appointed to the post in April 1999 by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Razali met twice with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as ethnic minority leaders, cease-fire groups and military officials during his last visit in November.

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    Ministry not against statue

    The Bangkokpost

    The Foreign Ministry is not against a planned statue of King Naresuan the Great but wants it built where it will not upset Burma.Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said ministry officials were holding talks on the monument's location with their National Security Council and Defence Ministry counterparts.

    ``There is no opposition to its construction,'' Mr Surakiart said. If the statue ``links with history at the site where history took place then it would be a good thing, because Thai people revere him [King Naresuan] highly''.But, Mr Surakiart said, the statue ``should not be built to confront anyone''.

    The Third Army wants the statue erected in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, on a site just one kilometre from Kuteng Nayong, a disputed area claimed by both Thailand and Burma.

    If built there, the monument would face a statue of Burma's King Bayinnnaung in Tachilek. King Naresuan, according to Thai historians, was the victor in a fierce battle fought by the two kings four centuries ago at Don Chedi in Suphan Buri province.

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    Security tightened up for trade fair

    Shan Herald Agency for News -No: 01 - 06:

    Security in Tachilek across from Chiangrai has been beefed up a week before the first joint trader fair organized by Rangoon and Bangkok, Moengzay reported from Chiangrai.

    An ad hoc meeting was called by Col Than Sein, Commander of the Military Operations Command, on Friday (11 January) in Tachilek where representatives from the military, police and civil departments attended. Chairpersons of Hawngluek, Maekhao, Sansai Tai, Makahokham, Talaw, Wankawng and Poonghtoon quarters were also among the attendees.

    Apart from reinforcing the outposts outside the city, 3 militia men, 3 township peace and development officials were to assist the soldiers manning the sentry-box near the Shan Yoma Plaza, the entrance to the site of the fair each day. "The road also leads to the town's golf course and the (Regina) Casino," he added.

    Since then, all motor vehicles using the road had been subject to scrutiny. "Films covering the windscreens were also pulled off by the security men," he quoted one driver saying.

    The ten-day fair, 18 - 27 January, would be opened by Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, according to other source. The renovation of the Tachilek by the Wa Hongpang company, in anticipation of the fair, has also been delayed until next month, they said.

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    Myanmar-China trade rising

    the Daily star
    AFP, Yangon -Trade between Myanmar and its giant northern neighbour China increased 3.1 per cent during the first 10 months of 2001 to 499 million dollars, according to an economic magazine published here.

    Privately owned monthly periodical Living Color attributed the steady growth in bilateral trade to increasingly good relations between the two countries.

    By the end of 2000, 759 trade agreements worth some 1.786 billion dollars had been signed between Myanmar and Chinese companies and another 87 projects worth 186 million dollars were struck during the first 10 months of 2001.

    The magazine said Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to Myanmar last month opened a "new chapter" in bilateral relations, by furthering economic and technical cooperation in the fields of energy and fisheries, among others.

    Jiang was the first Chinese president to travel to Myanmar since the current regime took power in 1988. During the four-day visit he inked several deals on economic and technological ties, livestock and fisheries and oil drilling in Myanmar's Pyay field.

    Myanmar's military government, long considered a pariah regime by western countries, has for years depended on China as a vital source of foreign investment and arms.

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    Japan To Aid Myanmar's Scholarship Project

    YANGON, Jan 15, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Japanese government will provide a grant aid for the project of human resources development scholarship in Myanmar under its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program, according to a press release of the Japanese embassy here Tuesday.

    The notes for providing an amount of 203 million yens (about 1.65 million U.S. dollars) for the project were signed and exchanged earlier on Tuesday between Japanese Ambassador Shigeru Tsumori and Myanmar Minister of National Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha.

    This was Japanese government's first ODA extended to Myanmar since the beginning of this year following such aid of 1.689.2 billion yens (about 13.8 million dollars) provided to the country in 2001.

    The project will be implemented under the main technical assistance program related to Japan-Myanmar Cooperation for Economic Structural Adjustment in Myanmar and aims to provide Myanmar nationals with opportunities for obtaining master's degree at Japanese higher educational institutions in various fields.

    Meanwhile, up to 2001, Japan has so far provided aid for debt relief to Myanmar for 20 times including that of 3.594 billion yens (about 29.22 million dollars) during 2001.

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    Thai Soldier Killed Along Myanmar Border

    BANGKOK, January 15 (Xinhuanet) -- A Thai patrol soldier was reportedly gunned down Tuesday, while patrolling along the Thai-Myanmar border in Thailand's border province of Kanchanaburi, according to a report of the Thai News Agency (TNA).

    The soldier was patrolling in the province's Sangkhla Buri district to prevent frequent drug trafficking and car robbery, normally conducted along the border. He was with others of the same unit, the report said.

    Some three kilometers away from their unit base, the soldiers discovered three men, whom they asked for an investigation, but the men in turn fired at them, according to the report. Two men of the opposite side also found dead, along with a muzzle-loading gun, the report said.

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