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Albright Attacks Burmese Drug Trad
- Subject: Albright Attacks Burmese Drug Trad
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 16:37:00
Subject: Albright Attacks Burmese Drug Trade
Albright Attacks Burmese Drug Trade
By Laura Myers
Associated Press Writer
Monday, July 28, 1997; 6:12 a.m. EDT
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright urged Southeast Asian nations
attack the region's pervasive narcotics trade by
refusing to deal
with drug-tainted Burmese businesses.
``Narcotics production has grown in Burma year
defying every international effort to solve the
Albright said in a statement at a post-ministerial
nations with a stake in Asia.
``As a result, drug traffickers who once spent
their days leading
mule trains down jungle tracks are now leading
Burma's new market economy and leading figures in
Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw responded with a
presentation on what his country is doing to halt
the drug trade,
but a European Union official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said he and others were skeptical.
In the closed meeting, Albright also urged
nations to liberalize trade in financial services
such as banking
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in turn,
continued his days-long rampage against Western
he blames for recent currency plunges in the
officials at the meeting. Over the weekend he cited
businessman George Soros, saying Soros was punishing
Southeast Asia for its closer ties to Burma. Soros
Albright, putting aside her prepared text, told
Mahathir it was
impossible for one person to achieve such damage,
officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In Burma, the country's $1 billion annual drug
trade -- mostly in
opium and its product heroin -- matches its legal
according to the U.S. embassy in Rangoon, the capital.
The Clinton administration has tried to isolate
regime, which came to power in a 1988 coup and
recognize 1989 election results. In April,
a ban on new U.S. investment in Burma.
Albright charged that Burma's drug traffickers, with
government encouragement, are laundering profits
Burmese banks and companies, including some that
ventures with foreign firms.
``Drug money has become so pervasive in Burma that
legitimate investment and threatens the region as a
Albright argued. ``This is a challenge we must face
and another reminder that it will be hard to do
in Burma until a climate of law is restored.''
Albright praised efforts in Thailand and Laos -- whose
crossroads with Burma makes up the infamous ``Golden
Triangle'' of the narcotics trade -- for
eradicating drug plants
and encouraging cultivation of legal crops.
Albright's statement came during a closed meeting
foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast
Nations and their ``dialogue partners'' -- the
Canada, the European Union, Russia, India, China, South
Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Members of the 30-year-old ASEAN are Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam
In a separate U.S.-ASEAN meeting, Albright asked the
nations to consider allowing the 10 partner
countries to form a
``Friends of Cambodia'' group to monitor progress
Asia's mediation of the crisis. The coalition
government fell in a
coup July 5-6. Taking the lead role, ASEAN is
working on a
political settlement to ensure free elections next
Later in the day, Albright planned to meet with
Foreign Minister Yu Chong-ha, partly to discuss the
four-party peace talks with North Korea and China
York in early August.
She also intended to talk with Indonesian Foreign
Alatas. The issue of human rights in East Timor was
to come up.
Today was the second day in a row Albright scored
which this year joined ASEAN despite U.S. objections.
On Sunday, she confronted Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn
Gyaw in a closed meeting in which the Burma
the military regime during a speech to his
counterparts that a
U.S. official called ``Orwellian.''
``Burma is the only member of ASEAN singled out by the
U.N. General Assembly for refusing to honor
the only member where the state and society are
at odds,'' Albright said.
Albright urged ASEAN nations to encourage reforms and
support Burma's democratic opponents, especially
Suu Kyi. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was
house arrest for six years, won election in 1989
but has not
been allowed to take office.
The Burmese government, responding to criticism,
statement over the Internet that called its
ASEAN a ``victory over the divisive legacies of
colonial masters that ruled the region.''