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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: August 21, 2000

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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________August 21, 2000   Issue # 1601__________

Mizzima: Forced labor still go on in Burma, despite ILO ultimatum
AFP: Myanmar troops storm Karen National Union base: border sources 
Bangkok Post  the Generals' Visa Nightmare

Reuters/Mizzima: Calcutta port workers hold up ship from Myanmar
Reuters: Myanmar border guards kill four Bangladeshis
Chin Human Rights Organization: India Deported More Chin Refugees

Oil and Gas Journal: Myanmar's upstream sector hobbled by pipeline 
controversy poor E&D results
Manchester Guardian Weekly: A Deadly Business [Dick Cheney/Burma]
NLD: Regime Still Using Forced Labor
The Toronto Star: It's time we built new bridge to Burma
Asian Age: Restoration of Democracy in Burma

OTHER _______
Foreign Corresp.  Club of Thailand Bulletin: Burma Press Conference 
Aug 22
Bucknell University: Univ. Establishes Scholarships for Burmese 

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Mizzima: Forced labor still goes on in Burma, despite ILO ultimatum

Imphal, August 18, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

Because of the pressure given either by America or ILO, in some places
in Burma, forced labour is lifted for face-value but in Naga Hills 
forced labour is definitely still carried onö said a Burmese Naga, Mr.
Laung San, General Secretary of Naga National League for Democracy
(NNLD), whose headquarter is now established in an India-Burma border

Naga Hills is situated in northern Sagaing Division of Burma.
Communication there is poor and contact with the people outside can
hardly be made. Human rights abuses are a day to day reality for the
villagers. And Naga nationals who escaped into India form Leshi 
of Burma will tell you these bitter experiences if you happen to reach
at some of the Naga villages in Manipur and Nagaland states of India.

In June this year, the 88th International Labour Conference held in
Geneva sent a strict notice to the Burmese authorities that forced
labour be stopped unconditionally and on the 30th of coming November,
the International Labor Organization (ILO) would see whether the
military regime follows its decision or not.

But, forced labour, giving different names in pretension such as
"voluntary labour" and very little or no fare giving labour and so on
are still going on, at least, in Naga Hills. As it is, people here 
no chance to work for their livelihood.

A top leader of the ruling military junta, State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) General Maung Aye, after his visit to Shillong in 
toured to the Chin State and Naga Hills areas in January this year.

He said the junta would transform the Chin State and Naga Hills û 
Lahe, and Khanti regions - as tea plantation regions. In addition, he
promised for the regional development, building motor roads and
Tele-communication facilities like television towers in the region.

Then, forced labour is sought from the villagers for a 5-mile high way
construction between Leshi and Summara in Naga Hills.

Not surprisingly, it aims for the military personnel who stationed at
Summara, the border city with India.

For LeshiûSummara highway construction, twelve villages in the area 
to supply hundred laborers in rotation with their own food and 
Each family is asked to make 6' x 6' x 1&#9564;' trench of split rock of 
35 trenches. Women and children carry the split rocks to the
construction site, the distance being half kilometer. Anybody who can
not work the given "duty" has to pay Kyat 3,000 through head of 
ward to township authorities concerned.

These villagers suffer from malaria and dysentery as the rains heavily
go on. "Laborers have to get up early, cook their breakfast and 
go to work up to 5 p.m. in the evening" said a woman whom our reporter
met at a border place.

At present, Tele-communication and television sets are being placed in
Leshi town and for this purpose too, a family has to contribute one
trench of split rocks or Kyats 3,000.

According to figures of the government, the budget for "Development of
Border Areas" for this year is Kyat 7,00 lakhs while for defence and
military purposes, Kyat 9,530 lakhs is sanctioned.

And the strength of the army in the border is increased more and more
and the villagers, mostly ethnic minorities, are the ones suffer. The
villagers carry rations and all eatables for the soldiers, of course,
free of charge. One villager is always on daily for carrying army
ration, reports and other purposes apart from the villagers cut tree,
bamboo, tatch, stumbling blocks for the army personnel.

Unable to bear these hardship and difficulties anymore, some Naga
families have in recent months, fled to India, particularly to the 
areas in India. In Nagaland, there are about three thousand Nagas from
Burma and in Manipur, about six hundred Nagas of Burma are living in 
Naga villages, according to NNLD leader Mr. Laung San.

ôIt is easy to get treatment here when one is sick. Moreover, We could
save money by working here. There in Myanmar (Burma), we can hardy eat
to survive. We have to work for the army and we are always afraid of
themö, said a Naga-Burmese villager in Manipur.


AFP: Myanmar troops storm Karen National Union base: border sources 

BANGKOK, Aug 21 (AFP) - Myanmar troops stormed a base of the rebel 
Karen National Union (KNU) and burned do200 soldiers attacked a KNU 
base about six kilometres (four miles) from the border with Thailand 
this morning," said timber mill owner Chuchat Sinsamut. 
 "They also attacked and burned the mill which is located on the 
 He said fighters of the rival Democratic Karen Buddhist Association 
(DKBA) fought alongside the Myanmar troops in the region opposite 
Thailand's western province of Tak. 
 Border Patrol Police said two KNU rebels were killed and three 
Myanmar soldiers injured in the fighting which lasted about an hour. 
They said they expected more trouble in the next few days. 

 "The situation is not calm yet because the two sides are still 
facing each other off," one police source said. 

 "The two sides are trying to defend their ground by laying down land 
mines. More than 200 have already been laid down," he said. 

 Chuchat said that while the area was a KNU stronghold, it had been 
peaceful for the past three months. 

 The police source said the Myanmar government was trying to wipe out 
the Karen rebellion by cutting off its business links with Thailand. 

 "They belive the KNU are smuggling logs out and selling them to Thai 
businessmen to fund their fight against the government," he said. 


Bangkok Post  the Generals' Visa Nightmare

August 17, 2000

Travelers Tales
Don Ross

The generals' visa nightmare

Burma falls further behind its neighbours in making travel easy

Neighbours are moving at a pace that could cause concern to Burma's
conservative leaders. They are surrounded by nations that have adopted
user-friendly visas and it is beginning to have a negative impact on
Burma's chances to attract more visitors. Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia 
taken giant strides down the path to visa-free entry, leaving Burma 
far behind.

Vietnam introduced visa-free entry for citizens of Thailand and the
Philippines in June. Both Vietnam Airlines and Thai Airways 
have now report an increase in Thai passengers, particularly to Ho 
Chi Minh

One enthusiastic tour operator insisted all the flights from Bangkok 
full. He had overlooked THAI's flight to Danang, which struggles to 

Vietnam is negotiating with other Asean member countries to sign 
bilateral pacts allowing visa-free entry.

Laos was the first of the new Asean members to experiment with a visa 
arrival, issued at its international airport in Vientiane and the
Friendship bridge at Nong Khai. Cambodia followed once it understood 
economic benefits of picking up US$20 from every visitor minutes 
after they
had disembarked at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. It's a thriving business. 
there is even talk of Cambodia allowing Asean citizens visa-free 
entry, a
move that will cut into the visa business.

Burma hasn't quite got into the spirit of things. The concept of a 
shop, next to cigars and duty-free booze is still a dream that 
and tour operators mull over. If it ever happened it would be a money 
churning out a daily guaranteed income in hard currency with minimum
overheads  local government salaries and the cost of a dozen rubber 
and pads.

According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association 192,000 international
visitors disembarked at Rangoon-airport last year. A visa shop would 
earned the country $3.8 million at $20         a pop. Overseas 
just can't compete. At Burma's busiest embassy, in Bangkok, overheads 
visa issuing into a money-loser and, at the end of the day, the fee 
is paid
in baht.

So why doesn't Rangoon airport's have a visa shop? Apparently the 
who run the country have this recurring nightmare that once the 
check into their five-star Rangoon hotels they will turn into 
human-rights activists.

Laos and Cambodia have suffered more than their fair share of security
scares, but no has suggested that the visa on arrival should be 

Hoteliers and tour operators who recently joined the new Myanmar 
Promotion Board are hoping the government will heed their plea for 
visa rules and procedures.

One suggestion is a limited visa on arrival, perhaps guaranteed by 
operators who bring in the groups. A tour operator would supply a 
list and
the fee for each visa, and the customers would get their passports 
on arrival at the airport, eliminating the need for a visit to an 
This would help to encourage tourism from European countries that 
have a Burmese embassy.

By linking the visa on arrival to the purchase of a tour package, the
security alarm might not go off in the generals' nightmare.


Thailand's top aviation figures, bar the celebrities from Thai Airways
International, sat side by side recently to fathom the scope of an
impending open-skies era.

They left the audience at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
wondering if anyone had a clue of what the Thai government had in 
mind when
it announced domestic aviation would be declared open.

Bangkok Airways president Dr Prasert Prasartthong-Osoth elaborated on 
spoiling tactics every time he attempted to start a new route. But 
that was
the closest anyone came on the panel to telling it as it is in the 
aviation world.

Angel Air's Somchai Bencharongkul shared a few thoughts on joint 
while declaring the honeymoon with Orient Thai and its namesake 
Airlines would continue. PB Air's Jothin Pamon-Montri, who spent most 
his working life in the top ranks of the national carrier, said he 
"wait and see", while hinting that "open skies" was nothing more than 
pleasant-sounding phrase in government circles.

At the end of the three-hour discussion we could only conclude that 
airline executives hadn't bothered to ask the government for a clear
outline of what constitutes an open-skies policy. There are a million 
interpretations to choose from, but so far the Transport Ministry has
explained very little other than to say "welcome to the world of open
skies" come Sept 1.

If there no such policy direction, then perhaps the ministry should 
what the customer understands the term to mean.

Plainly speaking, the idea is to throw the door wide open and let the
market determine the outcome.

To the consumer, open skies ends the status of national airlines,
designated airlines, airfare controls and even quaint little 
practices such
as seat capacity controls or any obligation that is not market-
driven. It
ends government interference in every aspect beyond monitoring safety,
aircraft licensing and the financial viability of airlines carrying 
Thai flag.

It basically ends the reason why Mr Somchai and his partners were 
to establish Angel Air in the first place with capital of three 
baht. It was done to obtain access to traffic rights that were 
given only to THAI. Open skies, even in its barest form, would end all
these privileges.

Readers can e-mail Don Ross at <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL____________________

Reuters: Calcutta port workers hold up ship from Myanmar

CALCUTTA, India, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Workers in India's eastern 
Calcutta port have held up a ship from Myanmar since Sunday to press 
for trade union rights and democracy in that country. 
 The ship, M.V. Pagan, is now expected to sail out on Monday night 
after a delay of 24 hours, a spokesman for the ship's agent, Everett 
India, said. 

 He said the workers did not allow the ship to leave the docks at the 
river port of Calcutta because the International Transport Workers' 
Federation had issued a circular to delay the ship. 
 He said workers also demanded better working conditions for sailors 
from Myanmar, where a military regime is in power. 


Mizzima adds:

In a telephone interview with Mizzima, Mr. Parbati Das from Calcutta
Port Shramik Union said that when they inspected the ship, they found
the condition of seafarers, all 22 Burmese nationals, very bad and the
seafarers do not get even proper food, drinking water. "The wages they
get are much far below than any standard", said Mr. Das.

"Mr. Htun Shwe, Master of the ship and local agent have agreed to give
us a letter of undertaking that they would provide all the means and
support to the Burmese seafarers", said Mr. Das.

The ship is expected to be allowed to sail out late evening today 
the Master of the ship gives the undertaking to the union 
activists. "We
have not had any official response from the Burmese authorities. But,
our main intention is to make them aware of our solidarity and support
extended to Burmese seafarers", said Ms. Nishi Kapahi from ITF Delhi

"We have always been supporting the cause of the Burmese Seafarers'
Union, which is in exile since trade unionism is not permitted in 
So, we have been supporting this Union. The main reason for supporting
this Union is because of the substandard of the condition that our
seafarers are subjected to', said Ms. Nishi Kapahi.

ITF activists at Vishaka Patnam port in Andra Pradesh organized 
boycott campaign in July this year. The ship, M.V. Chin Shwe Haw, was
held up for nearly four hours by 26 trade union activists belonging to
ITF on 3rd July morning and they then delivered a protest letter 
the Burmese junta through the ship Master.

The international Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), a global body 
more than five hundred transport workers' unions and International
Confederation of Free Trade Union (ICFTU) have been active in support 
trade union rights in Burma. It has protested the Burmese junta for 
allowing the trade unionism and denying the rights of the workers in 

Union activists held up Burmese ship at Calcutta Port

New Delhi, August 21, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)


Reuters: Myanmar border guards kill four Bangladeshis

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Myanmar border guards on 
Sunday shot and killed at least four Bangladeshi fishermen near Saint 
Martin Island in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh police said. 

 The police said a fishing boat with 16 crew on board cruising inside 
Bangladesh's territorial waters came under fire from the Myanmar 
guards and sank. 
 Two injured fishermen were rescued, but ten others were still 
missing, they said but gave no other details. 

 ``One body has already been recovered, and we are trying to retrieve 
three others floating in the Bay,'' Sub-inspector Abdul Gafoor at 
Teknaf police station told Reuters. 
 Bangladesh often alleges that Myanmar forces intrude into its 
territory and kill or abduct its citizens from the frontiers. 

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Myanmar border guards on 
Sunday shot and killed at least four Bangladeshi fishermen near Saint 
Martin Island in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh police said. 

 The police said a fishing boat with 16 crew on board cruising inside 
Bangladesh's territorial waters came under fire from the Myanmar 
guards and sank. 
 Two injured fishermen were rescued, but ten others were still 
missing, they said but gave no other details. 

 ``One body has already been recovered, and we are trying to retrieve 
three others floating in the Bay,'' Sub-inspector Abdul Gafoor at 
Teknaf police station told Reuters. 
 Bangladesh often alleges that Myanmar forces intrude into its 
territory and kill or abduct its citizens from the frontiers. 


ANANOVA: Mother of jailed activist to visit him in Burma


 August 20, 2000.

The mother of a British human rights activist held in a Burmese jail 
says she will go to Burma after hearing that her son's appeal against 
a 17-year sentence has been rejected.

Diana Mawdsley said: "I really do not know what the next step will 
be, but I will go out there and just see how things are."

Her son James, 27, from Lancashire, was jailed last September for 
promoting democracy in Burma and distributing leaflets urging people 
to protest against the military regime there.

Referring to news of the appeal, Mrs Mawsley said: "I am glad at 
least to know. But the case against James could not possibly stand up 
in any decently ordered society."

She has now received her visa and plans to fly out to Burma on 
September 4 on an open-ended ticket. "I think the situation will now 
become political. It certainly cannot be put to rest," she added.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Although we have not heard from 
his lawyer, we have heard through reasonably reliable sources in 
Rangoon that his case has been dismissed."

Mr Mawdsley's father David, angered by the news, said: "The whole 
country is constipated. Everything has to come from the top. They are 
very cruel people and this is what James is trying to draw attention 

"We have to accept that the Burmese - I am not talking about the 
normal people, but the junta - are not only incompetent but totally 

The family has been in communication with Lord Daniel Brennan QC, who 
is willing to go to Burma and fight on Mr Mawdsley's behalf.

Mr Mawdsley senior spoke to his son last month and saw him in June. 
He said: "He looked remarkably well. He has been doing weight 
training using water bottles as weights. It is the solitary 
confinement that is really getting to him.


Chin Human Rights Organization: India Deported More Chin Refugees

19 August 2000
Chin Human Rights Organization ( Aizawl Branch )

At 6:30 AM this morning, All India Radio, Aizawl  station broadcast 
that 82 
Chin refugees have been deported to the border river of Tio on 18 
July 2000. 
Detail news about the deportees is not known.

This is the third time in this month that Chin refugees seeking 
refuge in 
Mizoram State has been deported. On August 3, the Indian authorities 
deported 87 refugees from Burma to the border. On August 8, the 
authorities deported 27 Chin refugees to the border for the second 
time in 
the month.

The authorities of Indian ignored the appeal of International 
such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, United States 
for Refugees and other institutions and individual  to stop 

So far Indian Government has been deported 196 Chin and other 
refugees from 
Burma in this month.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS ________________

Oil and Gas Journal: Myanmar's upstream sector hobbled by pipeline 
controversy poor E&D results

The Oil and Gas Journal 
June 26, 2000 

Myanmar's upstream sector hobbled by pipeline controversy poor E&D 

After a string of large offshore gas discoveries in the early 1990s 
brought it out of a long doldrums, Myanmar's oil and gas sector is 
sputtering once again. 

The main culprits are tensions between state oil company Myanma Oil & 
Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and the ruling military government that are 
hindering development and the disappointing results of onshore oil 
exploration; both are causing operators to throttle back investment. 

Legal problems affecting two major foreign companies are also a 
strain. Unocal Corp. and Premier Oil PLC are again facing legal and 
political pressure in their home countries and internationally for 
their involvement in development and pipeline projects involving 
Yadana and Yetagun, gas fields that they respectively operate in the 
Gulf of Martaban off Myanmar (Fig. 1). 

The administration of US Pres. Bill Clinton last month renewed 
unilateral sanctions against Myanmar, first imposed in 1997 over 
allegations of slave labor and other human rights abuses in the 

Unfulfilled promise 

When Myanmar embarked on market-oriented economic policies back in 
1988, oil and gas companies were excited by the prospect of searching 
for oil and gas in the underexplored nation. Non-US operators lined 
up to sign the first production-sharing contracts in 1989. 

But over the past few years, Myanmar has grown increasingly isolated 
because of the US-led embargo and is regularly criticized for its 
slow bureaucracy, contrary decision-making, and a lack of clear laws 
and regulation and their arbitrary implementation, as well as 
increasing corruption. Many companies have already pulled their 
operations out of Myanmar, and others have threatened to do the same 
if the country's investment atmosphere does not improve soon. 

Simply put, Myanmar has not been a simple place for foreign companies 
to do business. "It's been a nightmare," said one oil industry 
executive. "It can take weeks to get approval to do the simplest 
things, and then that decision can get overturned by another official 
in another department or ministry." 

Despite considerable interest during the 1990s, Myanmar remains an 
obscure backwater as far as the oil and gas industry is concerned. 
Exploration and development onshore is proceeding with limited 
success, and after 18 months of delay, the country is only just now 
about to receive the first payments for offshore gas exports. 

On the onshore front, the operator of the country's biggest oil 
field, Houston-based oil field service giant Baker Hughes Inc., 
announced in mid-January its intention to pull out of the Mann field, 
in central Myanmar. In addition, six other companies or groups have 
been mostly inactive over the past 2 years. All are small to medium-
sized operators, and the results of both exploration and development 
have been sporadic at best. 

Given Myanmar's earlier, much-vaunted potential, the delays offshore, 
coupled with he disappointment onshore, have left the country's 
industry in disarray The further impact of the US economic embargo 
has made matters that much more difficult, discouraging investment 
from companies that have the resources necessary to plan beyond 
initial poor results. 

"The fact is, it will be some time indeed before Myanmar truly lives 
up to its potential as far as
hydrocarbons are concerned," said one executive with an oil operator 
based in Yangon (Rangoon). "The combination of the embargo, the 
economic crisis, and delayed development have really constrained

Human rights controversy 

Most of the storms of controversy have swirled over the first 
pipeline to be built to deliver Myanmar hydrocarbons to another 

The $ 1 billion, 665-km Yadana pipeline extends from Yadana gas field 
to a power plant in Ratchaburi province. The Yadana consortium 
consists of operator TotalFinaElf SA (31.24%), Unocal (28.26%), PTT 
Exploration & Production (25.5%), and MOGE (15%). 

The pipeline was originally scheduled for completion last April. 
However, in January, the Thai
government suspended construction on a 10-km section of the pipeline 
that extends through the Sai Yok forest reserve near the Thailand-
Myanmar border amid protests from environmental groups (Fig. 2). Work 
resumed thereafter, and the pipeline was completed during the first 

But the real trouble came with allegations of slave labor used to 
build the pipeline. 

Attorneys for a group of Myanmese refugees have claimed that they 
discovered "smoking-gun"
documents that prove that Unocal was complicit in abuses of human 
rights by the Myanmese military. The abuses allegedly included slave 
labor, numerous deaths, and the seizure of property. Unocal has 
denied the charges. 

A US federal judge in Los Angeles will hear the charges in July to 
determine whether the suits, the first ever to hold a US company 
liable for human rights abuses abroad, can proceed to trial. 

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office reiterated a request to Premier 
that it pull out of its Yetagun gas project as soon as legally 
possible. The request was made to Premier Chairman Charles Jamieson 
as part of British efforts to put further pressure on Myanmar to 
improve its human rights record. 

An initial request was made 2 years ago. Premier is not expected to 
heed the latest appeal. Premier operates Yetagun field, 175 miles 
west of Thailand on Blocks M-12, M-13, and M-14 in the Gull of 

But it is the suits against Unocal that have the gravest potential 
consequences. The class action suits, originally filed in 1996, seek 
more than $ 1 billion in damages. Attorneys for the refugees say that 
US Department of State cables obtained under the US Freedom of 
Information Act contradict Unocal's denials. They cite a 1995 cable 
of an interview with Unocal executive Joel Robinson, which 
stated: "On the general issue of the close working relationship 
between Total/Unocal and the Myanmese military, Robinson had no 
apologies to make. He stated forthrightly that the companies have 
hired the Myanmese to provide security and pay for this through the 
Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise." 

Robinson was quoted as saying that three truckloads of Myanmese 
soldiers typically accompanied the project officials during survey 
work and the soldiers were informed of the next day's activities so 
they could secure the area. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the cables 
are evidence of a contractual relationship between Unocal and the 
Myanmese military. 

For its part, Unocal claims that the cables were "not factually 
accurate" and that there is "no evidence that the Myanmese military 
was hired by Unocal or Total or anybody else." A Unocal lawyer 
insisted that its summary judgment motion "will dispose of the case 
in its entirety."  

US District Judge Richard Paez has already dismissed TotalFinaElf, 
the operator of the Yadana
consortium, and the Myanmese government as defendants in the cases. 

In January 1999, the Myanmese military was reported to have sent 
troops and armored vehicles to
suppress ethnic insurgents threatening to bomb the pipeline. A unit 
was assigned to protect a 60-km stretch of pipeline from the town of 
Kanbauk to the border city of Thong Pha Phum that had been threatened 
by Karen guerrillas. The unit consisted of an artillery battalion and 
five rapid-response battalions. Four Karen men arrested as spies a 
month before the deployment admitted to Myanmese intelligence that 
they were planning to bomb the pipeline. 

Unocal insists that its past 10 years of engagement in Myanmar have 
meant "employment opportunity, technology training, education, and 
health care opportunities," Carol Scott, a Unocal spokeswoman based 
in Singapore, said recendy. "Reaching out through this kind of 
engagement is the best way to achieve change, not hiding behind 
sanctions. There should be more American companies there, not fewer." 
She said people living close to the gas project Unocal was involved 
in Myanmar were "very happy" it was going on because of the 
opportunities it presented. "It will only serve to quicken the\ 
process towards democratization." 

In late 1998, a renewed crackdown by the government on the country's 
prodemocracy movement and its international supporters added to the 
woes of business concerns already enduring criticism and local 
sanctions for their trade ties with Yangon. This has yet to subside. 
Clinton's decision in 1997 to bar new US investments in Myanmar has 
also been effective. The sanctions drive-as well as consumer boycotts 
directed at firms that deal with Yangon--have largely succeeded at 
pushing companies to end their work in Myanmar. 

ARCO, which had invested in two gas projects that provided more than 
$ 55 million to the country, did not renew its remaining exploration 
lease in the Gulf of Martaban. In addition, Texaco pulled out of its 
onshore acreage, reportedly due to sanctions pressure. 

Onshore E&D struggling 

Onshore, activities have been difficult, although a sizeable amount 
of acreage has been leased in the country since the late 1980s (Fig. 
3). Smaller players with limited cash continue to stay involved in 
the country, but efforts at success have been disappointing. 

One of Myanmar's onshore gas fields, Aphyauk gas field in the Taikkyi 
area in the central part of the country, is operated by MOGE and has 
been supplying natural gas to Yangon, Pyay, and other areas in the 
southern part of the country for power generation and industrial use. 

Meanwhile, a pipeline has also been laid to bring natural gas from 
another newly developed onshore oil field, Kyaukkliwet, to 
Kyuanchaung and Chauk areas in Myanmar's Magway Province. 

The following foreign companies remain active onshore: 

* Myanmar Petroleum Resources Ltd., Yangon, has taken complete 
control of Mann field following the departure of joint-venture 
partner Baker Hughes. 

* Astra Petro Nusa of Indonesia operates Chauk and Yemangyaung fields 
in central Myanmar
(Yemangyaung is the oldest in the country and has been prodcing since 
1887). Astra Petro Nusa is in the midst of shooting 2D seismic and 
has talked about future exploration drilling but has no firm plans. 

* Mercantile Southeast Asia Ltd. operates Myanaung field in southern 
Myanmar, 200 miles
fromYangon and has plans to drill one shallow well. 

* Focus Energy Ltd., formerly Asia Pacific Energy Ltd. operates Canni 
field in central Myanmar. The company has completed some remedial 
drilling but plans no new wells. 

* A consortium led by the UK's Westburne Oil Ltd. operates in the 
Yenama region of central
Myanmar. The consortium includes Westburne, the UK's A&T Exploration 
Co. Ltd., and Israel's
Capital Investment Development Corp. This group is considering 
drilling a shallow well with a MOGE

* PT Expan Sumatra Oil Co. of Indonesia operates blocks in the 
Ohndwe, Kyaukkyi-Mindon, and
Padaukpin-Monnatkon areas. The company has plans to drill two wells, 
and was expected to spud the first one in the second quarter. 

Exploration and development drilling in all but Mann field has been 
spotty, at best. The Myanmese have been trying to get the onshore E&D 
firms to spend money, but scant activity has been forthcoming. A 
large part of the difficulty has been dealing with MOGE, say foreign 
industry executives here. The state company has little experience and 
even less respect in senior government circles, they say Simply put, 
MOGE does not possess the clout to honor the terms of contracts, 
particularly when results are less than anticipated, they contend. 

"MOGE is sad to deal with," says one executive of an onshore 
operating firm. "They are simply not trusted by the government. There 
is no sign of any technology. They are a state company that cannot do 
anything on their own. None of their staff will speak up and say 
anything significant, no one has authority, everything has to go for 
approval to the Petroleum Ministry or the Finance Ministry." 

Baker Hughes saga 

The recent story of onshore development in Myanmar has been dominated 
by the misadventures of Baker Hughes with Mann field. 

According to those involved, Baker Hughes had a distressing 
experience operating in the country, and results from its production 
compensation contract with MOGE have been disappointing. The company 
won an agreement in October 1996 to implement efforts to enhance 
production at the aging field, wherein it was to be paid for 
production that exceeded an agreed-upon level based on the field's 
projected decline profile. The initial consortium, which consisted of 
Baker Hughes, Irrawaddy Resources, Keppel Group, Nissho Iwai Corp., 
and Mynt Associates, broke up after it became obvious that initial 
output projections were far too optimistic and that MOGE payments 
were going to be seriously delayed. 

Production exceeding the decline profile has been far less than 
anticipated. Original projections were 3,000-6,000 b/d above the 
originally projected output of 3,050-3,100 b/d and a limited amount 
of gas. Currently the field is producing only 740 b/d above the 
decline profile, confirmed Baker Hughes executives (OGJ, Mar. 20, 
2000, p. 80). 

This disappointment resulted in the failure of MOGE to pay for any of 
the oil produced until the week of Nov. 29, 1999. According to 
industry sources, MOGE has very limited power and is not permitted to 
pay out money without the express permission of the Finance Ministry. 

Early this year, Baker Hughes teamed up with Myanmar Petroleum 
Resources and signed an additional contract on the same block. To 
date, three wells have been spudded: Nos. 645, 646, and 647, at a 
total cost of $ 53 million. Baker Hughes's recent decision to pull 
out of the development has nothing to do with the disappointment of 
Mann field's performance. According to company officials, the 
decision was made at the board level to withdraw from all activities 
that deviated from its core oil field services businesses. 

"We started the Mann field project as a production enhancement 
exercise and went about deepening sidetracks to existing production 
wells," said a former Baker Hughes executive. "Unfortunately, it soon 
became obvious that we were never going to get the increase in output 
that we had initially projected. As of now, Mann field production is 
between 3,050 and 3,100 b/d, and incremental production is 740 b/d 
and will be sustained for a while. But this is a disappointment, and 
we had projected doubling output when we signed the first agreement. 

"Partially as a result of this disappointment, we had a lot of 
difficulty getting money out of MOGE," he said. "The fact is, MOGE 
essentially has very little power, particularly when it comes to 
paying foreign companies. It is the Finance Minister who makes the 
ultimate decision, and we have had to negotiate directly with him as 
well as his team of advisers. 

"When we had difficulty being paid and were going through the 
disappointment of the
lower-than-anticipated enhancement output, we began reducing expenses 
dramatically. We had
originally budgeted for $ 6 million/year in overhead and $ 15-20 
million in revenue. Then we had cut expatriate staff to just two and 
increased local manpower significantly to save costs." 

Offshore gas woes 

While results offshore have been better in terms of development, the 
difficulties finding markets for the offshore gas and getting the 
terms honored when agreed to have been equally frustrating. 

"Better late than never" is the emerging attitude in the Myanmese gas 
sector after the announcement that the Petroleum Authority of 
Thailand (PTT) resolved a long-running dispute with the Yadana 
consortium for payment of all gas not taken from the pipeline. In 
addition to the $ 50.47 million settlement for gas not taken last 
year, Myanmar now looks set to begin receiving regular revenue from 
gas sales for the first time in its history. 

After 2 years of delay, Thailand's Ratchaburi power station soon may 
begin taking Yadana gas. A
dispute this spring arose between PTT and Electricity Generating 
Authority of Thailand (EGAT), its chief customer for Yadana gas, over 
sharing of take-or-pay costs (OGJ Online, May 2, 2000). Because of 
repeated construction delays, the Ratchaburi plant is now prepared to 
take only about 150 Mmcfd of Yadana gas, although PTT is committed to 
purchasing 525 MMcfd of Yadana gas to feed the plant. The dispute 
centered on whether or not EGAT would be willing to share part of the 
take-or-pay costs the power plant construction delays have incurred. 

According to press reports from Bangkok, a June 15 agreement 
determined that five parties involved in the dispute--besides PTT and 
EGAT, there are also the Finance Ministry and the Independent Power 
Producers and Small Power Producers groups--would each shoulder part 
of the take-or-pay burden. Officials says the apportionment of those 
costs have not been decided yet, but a final decision is expected 
soon--perhaps this month. 

The Yadana agreement also stipulates that PTT agrees to accept gas 
without enrichment until December 2006. The Yadana gas contains 712 
btu of heating value, while the original contract called for 715 btu. 

PTT did not reveal when and how much it will pay forYadana gas: "All 
par-. ties are confident that this agreement is the outcome of 
extremely good cooperation between the buyer and seller," PTT said in 
a statement. "It protects the interest of all the parties and 
strengthens their good relations for the coming 30 years [the 
duration of the sales agreement] 

While a far cry from the highly publicized expectations of 1998, when 
Myanmar was expected to join the ranks of Southeast Asian natural gas 
exporters such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, the sales should 
still earn the country $ 2.9 billion over the life of the field. 
Output of 550 MMcfd will also nearly triple the country's currently 
modest output of 174 MMcfd, which it produces from various small 

A second gas development, Premier's Yetagun field, 270 km west of 
Thailand in the Gulf of Martaban, is scheduled to begin supplying 200 
MMcfd to Thailand in 2000 under a 30-year arrangement between PTT and 
the Yetagun consortium. The Yetagun group consists of Premier,  MOGE, 
PTTEP, PetronasCarigali, and Nippon Oil Corp. Earnings for Myanmar 
from. Yetagun should average $ 823 million/year. However, like 
Yadana, the Yetagun project is almost certainly due to be 
significantly delayed. 

PTT announced last December that it was seeking to postpone the 
delivery of natural gas from second phase of its contract with the 
Yetagun group. In the first phase, PTT will accept 200 MMcfd as of 
July 1, 2000, rising to 260 MMcfd by Aug. 1. In the second phase, 
delivery is set to increase to 400 MMcfd in 2003. PTT is seeking to 
delay taking the additional 140 MMcfd for at least 2 more years or 
until 2005. Discussions between PTT and Premier Oil are under way. 

The gas revenues will dramatically increase Myanmar's foreign 
exchange earnings. The country's major foreign exchange revenue has 
traditionally been rice, beans, and teak. Its foreign exchange 
reserves are estimated at a paltry $ 150-300 million. 

Constructing the Yadana line has been almost as problematic as 
getting the Ratchaburi power plant on stream and is a classic 
illustration of the difficulties that can occur in developing 
countries. For starters, the project was developed despite US 
sanctions, In the past several years, Coca Cola and Texaco Inc. have 
withdrawn from the country, and Unocal is the only remaining US 
company with significant investment. 


It would be a gross mistake to believe the new gas revenue represents 
the thin end of the wedge of Myanmar gas potential. Analysts caution 
that the two offshore projects have effectively cornered the regional 
market for Myanmar natural gas. Due to the recent economic slump in 
the region, additional discoveries and subsequent development would 
have difficulty finding markets. 

Which is not to say that Myanmar does not remain highly prospective. 
The Gulf of Martaban is thought to be replete with commercial 
quantities of gas, and certain onshore areas also have good 
potential. But the only likely buyer of future Myanmese gas 
production is Thailand, and it has scant appetite to purchase any 
more than Yadana and Yetagun. 

It is also unlikely that much further activity will take place off 
Myanmar in the medium term: "There is a lot of potential, but people 
are reluctant to explore the offshore areas, because they're gas-
prone, one oil company executive said. "The two big players have the 
market sewn up. 

Although exploration results have been disheartening since the Yadana 
and Yetagun strikes, Myanmar hopes to stimulate interest in some 
remaining unawarded offshore and onshore blocks. Many of these are 
located outside of traditional exploration areas. MOGE estimates that 
it will need $ 5 billion in foreign investment in its oil sector to 
fully develop its petroleum resources. Due to the sanctions and the 
country's poor administrative reputation, anything approaching this 
amount is unlikely to be forthcoming. 

"They tend to forget that it is a competitive world out there," said 
one negotiator for a Western oil company operating in Myanmar in 
reference to the government. "It's like the old adage: 'Don't open 
the stable door after the horse is dead.' If there is not a lot of 
positive movement soon, more and more companies will pull out, and 
they will have to do some real convincing to bring them back again." 

Manchester Guardian Weekly: A Deadly Business [Dick Cheney/Burma]
NLD: Regime Still Using Forced Labor
The Toronto Star: It's time we built new bridge to Burma
Asian Age: Restoration of Democracy in Burma


Manchester Guardian Weekly: A Deadly Business [Dick Cheney/Burma]

August 9, 2000


  A deadly business

    What do Dick Cheney, Slobodan Milosevic and the British company 
Oil have in common? Answer: they all believe in doing business with 
Burma. For Mr Cheney,  George W Bush's Republican running-mate, the 
appalling human rights record of the Rangoon junta  presents no bar 
to trade. As chief executive of Halliburton, the world's largest 
oilfield services company, he  backed a lobbying group opposed to 
sanctions on Burma. As a board member of another pressure group  he 
helped to persuade the United States supreme court to overturn a 
Massachusetts law that  imposed penalties on firms trading with 
Burma. Mr Cheney, who was US defence secretary during the Gulf war,  
believes in making the world a safer place for America's oil industry.

Slobodan Milosevic's top priority is a safer world for Slobodan 
Milosevic.  The isolated Yugoslav president will talk to almost 
anybody these days. Last month he entertained  Burma's foreign 
minister, Win Aung, in Belgrade. Mr Milosevic said they agreed that 
sanctions imposed  on sovereign states were "a criminal form of 
behaviour [and] a massive violation of human rights".  He is not 
troubled by the International Labour Organisation's accusation that 
the junta has committed  "an international crime", possibly amounting 
to "a crime against humanity", in exploiting forced labour.

Nor, apparently, are Burma's hundreds of political prisoners, its 
thousands  of arbitrary arrests and torture cases, and the tens of 
thousands of tribespeople killed or driven  from their land over-
troubling to Premier Oil, which is persisting with its Yetagun gas 
pipeline. Never mind  that Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National 
League for Democracy, and her supporters still face  intimidation 10 
years after elections in which they won 82% of the vote. Forget the 
junta's involvement  in heroin production and trafficking, and the 
humanitarian and refugee problems resulting from its  tyranny. All 
that, Premier seems to say, is not our business. It may sound sick to 
you. But it makes Dick  and Slobodan proud.


NLD: Regime Still Using Forced Labor

No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 121 (8/00) (translation)

1. From early February 2000, a new road from Monywa to Kalewa running 
along the Chindwin water course and a bridge crossing the Myittha 
river in the Sagaing division are being constructed. The entire area 
is full of clifts, ridges, chaungs and rivulets across which tree 
trunks have to be laid for crossing.

2. Residents from the townships of Monywa and Ka-ne (Monywa 
District), Min-kin township (Kale District), Kalewa township are 
summoned in writing to give forced labor and money by a method of 

3. Approximately 1000 people from each township is required to bring 
Kyats 200/- each and provide force labor. The money is to be used as 
and when necessary while working on the road. Kyats 500/- to 1000/- 
has to be paid for inability to give forced labor. Villagers in the 
vicinity and their cows and buffaloes too are commandeered for use on 
the road. Though these animals are required for the cultivation of 
crops on their farms, they are not spared. The people of the region 
are extremely hard pressed for their livelihood.

4. These workers are abused and driven like slaves by those in 
command. The area is infested with sand flies having the capability 
of killing elephants and malaria injecting mosquitoes and other 
insects and microbes that are harmful to humans.

5. Most of these forced laborers suffer from malaria and there are 
times when many lose consciousness while on the job. No medical aid 
whatsoever is provided by the authorities. Medicines have to be 
bought from outside by the patients themselves. No compensation is 
given for injuries or even death as a result of accidents at the 

6. We strongly condemn this lack of sympathy and consideration for 
the country's people. Treating them as if they are not human beings 
and forcing them to do arduous work like slaves to accomplish the 
task given by those holding power is denounced by us.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

3 August 2000


The Toronto Star: It's time we built new bridge to Burma

Sunday, August 13, 2000

By Myint Shwe

What can Canada do for Burma? Given the geographic distance and lack 
historical ties, it's easy to say Canada as a middle power can do very

There is no Canadian embassy in Burma, a country of 50 million people
that has been free of colonial rule for half a century. Instead there 
a Canadian "Interest Desk" in the Australian Embassy in Rangoon.
Canada's ambassador to Thailand is also accredited to Burma.

There is an overhanging controversy about the effectiveness of taking
active punitive measures against Burma that also moderates Canada's

Many Canadians know Burma only in relation to Aung San Suu Kyi, the
Nobel Prize winner, and the Burma/Myanmar name game. Others innocently
ask whether it is an island-nation in the Caribbean.

So it is natural that Canada does not have "a policy" on Burma, apart
from bits and pieces of utterances that reflect declarations made 
the Atlantic or south of the border. Canada does try to engage with
Rangoon on the narcotics issues (Vancouver being a Burmese heroin 
point to North America) and indirectly on humanitarian concerns.

But it would be wrong to say Canada has never had a relationship. A
river runs between the Burmese capital, Rangoon, and the working-class
city of Thar-Kay-Ta. The major link between the two cities, the
Thar-Kay-Ta Bridge, was built in 1966 by Canadian engineers as a gift 
the Government of Canada under the Colombo Plan.

In 1966, it was state-of-the-art. The bridge's middle section consists
of two electric-powered drawbridges that raise up whenever big ships
arrive on the high tide (a wide tidal river flows underneath).

Previously, the 200,000 inhabitants of Thar-Kay-Ta had the use of 
only a
single-lane bridge, a decaying relic of World War II, to commute to
Rangoon. The new Canadian bridge meant a lot to them. It was, 
their lifeline.

Much water has passed under the bridge since then. Burma is no longer 
socialist republic. The ruling junta is building dozens of bridges,
large and small, throughout the country using forced labour in the 
of economic development.

The Burmese dictators are using the "politics of bridge-building" to 
to win back the support of a population which has been tortured and
killed. But the Canadian bridge is still in place, serving the people.
For the Burmese, it's a rare symbol of foreign benevolence to 
the tense xenophobic propaganda produced by the military regime.

Canada's half-brother in the Far East, Australia, recently took a bold
new path in dealing with Burma. With Rangoon's assent, it is starting
human rights workshops for Burmese prison and security personnel.

Australia seems to have grasped that exerting positive change on Burma
is best attempted by taming the power incumbent rather than trying to
replace it.

Canada's focus in Burma should be in the same direction. In league 
Australia, Canada can set itself to the tasks of promoting human 
and improving the general welfare of ordinary Burmese. Build bridges,
open human rights schools, distribute condoms, give youth vocational
training, even extend offshore campuses of liberal Canadian 
to Burma.

Hold back the dollars, if there are worries about supporting the 
In transition economies, the state remains "employer" to the citizens
far longer than it should. Help remove the regime from the "employer"
position and the people will do the rest.

But to build confidence, and to command respect as benefactor, refrain
from (deep) involvements in the messy domestic power struggle. The
bottom line is, so long as human rights are made safe and fully
respected by those who hold power, it is legitimate for Canadians to 
business with Burma, a resource-rich, cheap-labour market that is the
last frontier for economic globalization.

But Canada has no embassy in Burma, though it will open a new embassy 
Iceland (population 270,000) in 2001.

If fears of Vancouver serving as an entry point for Burmese heroin are
true, then organized crime has built a link between Burma and Canada
before the Canadian government has.

It's not that Canada is minimally interested in Asia. At the last 
Regional Forum held in Bangkok, Canada announced it will extend
diplomatic relations to North Korea, a full-fledged Communist state.

Using long-term vision, the time is ripe for Canada to open an embassy
in Rangoon. This country needs to identify Burma, first, as a country
and look beyond the junta that happens to be the government of the 
It will depart the scene, someday, somehow.

Meanwhile the estrangement of Canada and others in the international
community hurts the Burmese people more than it hurts the regime.


Myint Shwe, 49, spent five years in Insein prison at Rangoon for
political activity. He arrived in Canada via Thailand in 1994. A
graduate student at York University, he is Canadian co-ordinator for 
National League for democracy (Liberated Area) organization based in


Asian Age: Restoration of Democracy in Burma

Restoration of Democracy in Burma
The Asian Age (20 August 2000),
Letters (page 12)

I am a member of Burma's National League for Democracy(NLD) headed by 
Aung San Suu Kyi, and have taken shelter in India. I have been living 
nineties and have been helping the struggle for the restoration of 
democracy in Burma through non-violent means.

I want to draw the attention of readers to the increasing problems 
faced by Burmese refugees in India and other neighbouring countries. 
root cause of problem lies in Burma itself; since Burma has become a 
of Association of South East Asian Nations(ASEAN), the ASEAN leaders 
adopted the policy of "Non-interference" in the internal affairs of 
But this is a sad turn of events, because whatever happens in Burma, 
it has 
far-reaching consequences on its neighbours.

The Burmese government has neglected for a long time, and is 
continuing to 
neglect, all the basic fundamental rights of the people--access to 
education, information, economy and healthcare. The Genereals care 
about how they can survive as a government. This has shattered the 
economy, resulting in a large migration of people from Burma to 
neighbouring countries.

The people of Burma do not have any choice but to find jobs outside 
own country. Hundreds and thousands of Burmese refugees are now 
working in Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and China. As the 
infiltration of the immigrant workers from Burma continues, countries 
India and Thailand have begun to face numerous problems including 
trafficking of drugs and arms across the border.

There is only one solution to all these problems and that is the 
restoration of democracy in Burma. The government of India should not 
neglect Burma's longstanding internal problems, as they have started 
have an effect on India, too. Until and unless a democratically 
government comes to power in Burma, the entire subcontinent will 
to pay a heavy price.

Chan Mya
Vikas Puri
New Delhi 

_____________________ OTHER  _______________________

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand BULLETIN: Burma Press 
Conference Aug 22

 August 18  2000 - Number 176

Burma Press Conference
Tuesday August 22, 2000 (10 am) Coffee refreshments

A specially convened press conference organized by the NGO ALTSEAN 
updated information about the Burma to be announced on Monday. For 
information call: 01 850 9008.


Bucknell University: Univ. Establishes Scholarships for Burmese 

	LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell's 142-year relationship with Burma 
continues with the endowment of two new scholarships for Burmese 
students with the help of more than 80 Burmese, including U Kyaw Win, 
international president of the Committee for the Restoration of 
Democracy in Burma.  

The Shaw Loo Memorial Scholarship was established to commemorate the 
anniversary  of the arrival from Burma of Bucknell's first 
international student and has grown to more than $350,000.

Win first wrote to 250 Burmese friends world wide, urging them to 
contribute to the Shaw Loo scholarship. More than 80 Burmese, 50 of 
whom now live in the United States, pledged donations. Then, through 
the efforts of Win and his wife, Gandasari,  an additional $209,000 
was brought in to establish another scholarship for Burmese students. 

	"It is a remarkable achievement to reach this level of 
endowment for the Shaw Loo scholarship, and funds continue to come 
in," said Bennett R. Willeford, retired chemistry professor and head 
of the Shaw Loo fund-raising drive. "We are most appreciative of 
Professor Win for his own generosity and for using his extensive 
contacts to solicit donations to honor Shaw Loo and to help Burmese 
students receive a Bucknell education." 

	In addition to being the international president of the 
Committee for the Restoration of Democracy  in Burma, Win was 
founding president of the Foundation for Democracy in Burma. He is an 
emeritus professor of counseling services at Orange Coast College, 
Costa Mesa, Calif., and now lives in Boulder, Colo.

	"Just the fact that one of my forebears trod the soil and 
walked Bucknell's halls of learning to sharpen his intellect is good 
enough for me to honor his memory and to express gratitude to 
Bucknell," Win said. "Bucknell has a special place in my heart." 

Page 2 Scholarships

	Win was prominent in Bucknell's 1998 fall focus 
semester, "Burma-Bucknell: Historic Partnership, Contemporary 
Crisis," that marked the historic relationship between Bucknell and 
Burma. He was one of the semester's main speakers and also helped 
arrange other contacts with Burmese expatriates who have fled the 
military dictatorship that runs the beleaguered country, now known as 

	Bucknell's connection with Burma began in the 19th century. 
Eugenio Kincaid, one of Bucknell's founders, was a Baptist missionary 
in Burma in 1830. Howard Malcom, the first Bucknell President, 
visited the Baptist missions there. Burma Weekends were held at 
Bucknell from 1948-1965 attracting Burmese students from throughout 
the United States, Burmese diplomats and U.S. government leaders. 

	Shaw Loo became acquainted with the Bucknell missionaries who 
encouraged him to come to the university in 1858. He graduated, 
eventually became a physician and returned to Burma to become one of 
the country's leading citizens.

	"To think the unimaginable that a young person journeyed so 
far away from his homeland, Burma, to far-off American before the 
advent of telephones, airplanes, electricity and then to live a long 
and fruitful life of inspiration is enough for me to be awed," Win 
said. "In our culture, we honor learning and highly respect those of 
high learning -- the more so when one has left the confines of his 
humble origin to acquire an education abroad."

	Two Burmese students are currently enrolled at Bucknell; two 
more plan to enter in the fall. Citizens of Burma who have financial 
need will be given preference for both scholarships. The junta 
recently reopened Burma's colleges and universities after closing 
them for three years following student protests.

	Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her fight 
for freedom and human rights in Burma, was Bucknell's 1999 
commencement speaker, which Win helped arrange. Her speech was 
delivered by Burton Levin, former U.S. ambassador to Burma, because 
of her fears that the junta would not allow her to return to her 
country. Win and leaders of the Burma government in exile attended 
the commencement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE			Contact: Kathie Dibell
 Aug. 17, 2000         					 570-577-3260

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