Written by U Ne Oo on 1999-07-12

The EU's proposal to send a fact-finding 'troika' mission to Burma was broked on June 30 by Reuters. As we all know, the EU diplomats have visited Rangoon last week and met with Burmese generals as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy leaders. The United State Government is also supportive to this EU mission to Burma.


It appears that such fact-finding mission is a common practice for mediation of dispute. Inispute. In complex disputes, such as in our case in Burma, the international mediators must firstly find out the position of the disputing parties. In our Burma's case, the mediator will determine whether there has been common ground for settling the dispute. For example, the mission may assess crucial factors such as whether the NLD and SPDC/SLORC are in a position to share power with each other and NLD&SPDC/SLORC position as regards to ethnic minorities. The main purpose of this mission appears to be find out whether inteer international mediation is possible. In any case, we welcome the EU initiative to establish dialogue with Burma and to help mediate Burma dispute. To some extent, I am pleased that the mission is able to meet ASSK and other leaders. Nevertheless, much more work is needed in order that the dialogue in Burma come into realization.


The EU position on Burma is well known: EU has enforced a stringent visa ban on top Burmese junta officials. The EU has also recognised the Committee Rommittee Representing People's Parliament formally(see EU resolution on 14 April 1999). The EU position on Burmese junta has led to cancellation of ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee meetings in last January. During May 1999 ASEAN-EU JCC meeting, only low level Burmse delegation as observer was allowed to attend by the EU. With continuing political impasse in Burma, and with EU's stands on Burmese junta, ASEAN itself need to take certain stand on Burma. In fact, the recent admission of EU mission to Burma by SPDC/SLORC can be intere interpreted as the Burmese junta (& ASEAN colleagues) trying to soften this EU's policy on Burma.

As we know, the ASEAN and its dialogue partners will hold their annual general meetings, AMM/ARF/PMC, at Singapore on 22-28 July 1999. 1/ Since the Burmese junta has already refused to accept the international mediation (see following 10/7/99 Reuters report), and hence refuse to move towards dialogue, we must urge the EU to stand firm on its current position on Burma. In addition, we must urge the dialogue partners of ASEANof ASEAN, especially the Government of United States (& Australia, of course), to fortify this EU position at forthcoming ASEAN meetings. Followings is the suggested action:

1. The ASEAN should not allow SPDC/SLORC appointed foreign minister, U Win Aung, to attend the AMM/ARF/PMC meetings in Singapore, unless Burma accept the international mediation and prepare to start a dialogue. Because ASEAN meetings require to present Burma as a country formally, only the resident Ambassador of Burma in Sirma in Singapore should be allowed to attend the meeting.

2. The EU is to be fully supported for its initiative on international mediation and dialogue in Burma. And we should also ask EU to maintain its tough stand as regards to Burma at this ASEAN meetings. The EU should continue demanding Burmese Foreign minister be excluded from the ASEAN meetings, unless Burmese junta accept the international mediation and to start dialogue with opposition.

3. The ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia[does not impose visa pose visa ban on junta], Canada, NewZealand, Japan, ROK and United States) should all support the EU position with regards to Burma at this ASEAN meeting.

N.B: We will only have short time to campaign. The facsimile and emails campaign will be more suitable for this action. Letter campaign to ASEAN-Secretariat, EU Human Rights Unit and US Secretary Madeleine Albright will be most appropriate.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.

1/ ASEAN's dialogue partners: Australia, NewZeland, jawZeland, japan, UNDP, United States, European Union, Canada, Republic of Korea, India, China, Russia and Pakistan.

ASEAN annual meetings: AMM(Asean Ministerial Meeting), ARF(Asean Regional Forum) and PMC(Asean Post Ministerial Meeting).

EU suggests fact finding mission to Mynamar

08:27 a.m. Jun 30, 1999 Eastern

BANGKOK, June 30 (Reuters) - The European Union has proposed sending a mission to Myanmar before next month's ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting to look for to look for ways to encourage dialogue between the ruling military and opposition, a European diplomat said on Wednesday.

The diplomat, who did not want to be identified, said the EU had informed members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of the proposal, but there had been no response from Yangon.

He said the proposal was for a visit by a EU fact-finding ``troika,'' which would comprise a representative of the EU's common foreign policy position, the EU presidency and of the European Commission.


Myanmar's human rights record, in particular its treatment of the pro-democracy opposition led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has disrupted EU-ASEAN relations since Yangon joined the 10-member ASEAN in 1997.

The EU bars entry to senior officials from Myanmar and says it will stick to this position unless there is a ``significant'' improvement in Myanmar's rights situation. The ban forced cancellation of an ASEAN-EU foreign ministers' meeting earlier this year.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won Myay won Myanmar's last election in 1990 by a landslide, but the military ignored the result and has decimated the party through a long campaign of arrests and intimidation.

The military and opposition blame each other for a lack of dialogue.

In a report published on Wednesday, the London-based human rights group Amnesty International said the rights situation in Myanmar had worsened since it joined ASEAN.

It called on the regional bloc to put pressure on Yangon at the ministerial meeting to be held in Singapore in lateore in late July.



RANGOON - Burma's military government has received no outside offers of mediation to resolve the deadlock with the pro-democracy opposition, and will solve its problems on its own, Foreign Minister Win Aung said.

A European Union delegation that visited the country this week had made no such offer, nor had the former South African president Nelson Mandela despite reports he could conse could consider such a role, Win Aung told Reuters late on Thursday.

"It would not be reasonable to do so (offer to mediate) because it is our domestic affair," the minister said.

A South African diplomat said last month Mandela would consider acting as a mediator between the military and the opposition, led by his fellow Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The diplomat said Mandela was willing to consider the role if formally asked by the opposition. "No proposal from Mandela," Win Aung said.

"I think Mr Mandela cMr Mandela can't understand our politics," he added. "We don't mean that we have solved the problems. We are trying to solve the problems by peaceful means by ourselves. Our problems are very complex." Win Aung said a visit by a mid-ranking EU delegation this week had been confined to fact-finding.

"Therefore, we told them what they wanted to know." EU diplomats said the delegation went to Burma to look at reestablishing a dialogue with the government in the interests of promoting human rights and a rapprochement between the oppo the opposition and military.

The EU is also interested in repairing its relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which has been damaged by the grouping's formal admission of Burma in 1997.

Burma's treatment of the opposition, including the arrest and detention of hundreds of its members, has led the EU to bar Burma officials from its borders, forcing cancellation of a high-level meeting of the two blocs earlier this year.

The EU wants to see "substantial progress" on human rights before lifting the ban.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won Burma's last general election in 1990 by a landslide but the military ignored the result.

Her party has said it is willing for dialogue with the military.

EU fact-finding mission and ASEAN meetings