|03RANGOON1390||2003-11-03 02:29:00||SECRET||Embassy Rangoon|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T RANGOON 001390
1. (S) Russian Ambassador Oleg Kabanov told EAP/BCLTV
Director Judith Strotz and DCM October 22 that Russia's
proposal to sell a nuclear research reactor to Burma was
"basically frozen," adding that Burmese students are in
Russia studying (at Burmese expense) nuclear engineering and
technology. Kabanov said he raised the potential reactor
deal with senior GOB officials twice in the last eighteen
months and was told both times, "we'll get back to you."
Kabanov indicated Russia was eager and willing to conclude a
sales deal, and professed that if the deal were to go
forward, all IAEA standards and safeguards would apply. All
this tracks closely with Embassy Moscow's October 22
discussion with Minatom, reftel. When asked if some third
country could possibly have concluded a sales agreement with
Burma in the meantime and perhaps even begun construction,
Kabanov said he didn't know. (Note: media, embassy, and
other-source reporting suggests that construction on some
sort of nuclear facility may have already begun. These
reports are yet to be verified. End Note)
2. (S) Director Strotz reiterated USG concern regarding
reports of Burma's unregulated nuclear aspirations in light
of Burmese interest in acquiring weapons from North Korea.
3. (C) The Russian ambassador also said Russian mechanics
maintain the Burmese Air Force MIG-29s under the terms of an
after-sales service contract. He said no Russians fly the
MIGs, they only maintain them. "I am happy to report that so
far none of them have crashed," he said with a grin. When
the contract is up, the aircraft technicians depart, the
ambassador stated, unless the contract is renewed or extended.