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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05RANGOON1128 2005-10-05 10:36:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

RUSSIAN ARMS TRADER TO OPEN BURMA OFFICE

Tags:   PARM MASS PREL BM RS 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 001128 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2015
TAGS: PARM MASS PREL BM RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN ARMS TRADER TO OPEN BURMA OFFICE

REF: RANGOON 989 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: P/E Chief W. Patrick Murphy for Reasons 1.4 (b,d)



1. (C) Summary: A Russian diplomat in Rangoon says that a
major state-owned Russian arms dealer, Rosoboronexport State
Corporation, will open an office in Burma as "a natural
presence to support Russia's growing commercial military
relationship" with the SPDC military regime. The diplomat
also reported that the Burmese regime's second ranking
official, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, postponed a trip
last month to Moscow "without explanation." End Summary.



2. (U) A September 28 article by Mizzima News (an India-based
Burmese exile news organization) reported that the Russian
arms trader Rosoboronexport plans to open an office in Burma
before the end of the year. The article added that the
Russian Embassy in Rangoon "had no knowledge of
Rosoboronexport's plans for an office in (Burma) and said it
was the company's decision whether or not to cooperate with
the embassy."



3. (C) On September 29, P/E chief met with Alexander
Kudryashov, the Russian Embassy's counselor for information
and political affairs. Kudryashov, responding to an inquiry
about the press report, said "it is absolutely true" that
Rosoboronexport would open an office in Rangoon, and would do
so within the coming months. He said the new office would be
"a natural presence to support Russia's growing commercial
military relationship" with Burma's military regime.



4. (C) Kudryashov, who described Rosoboronexport as "perhaps
the largest" of five state-owned Russian arms companies, said
that company representatives would likely enter Burma on
Russian diplomatic or official service passports. He did not
know the specific location within Rangoon of the proposed
office, but he opined that the arms company "had plenty of
business to oversee" in Burma. (DAO Comment: Russian defense
attache contacts were less than forthcoming with information
on the Rosoboronexport plans, only saying that the company
"may" set up shop within the Embassy, similar to its Beijing
operations, and would staff the office with a single company
representative. End Comment.)



5. (C) On a separate but related topic, Kudryashov said that
the SPDC's Deputy Chairman, Vice Senior General Maung Aye,
had postponed an official trip to Russia, scheduled for last
month, "without offering any explanation." He said the
mysterious postponement of the trip, which had been planned
for months and would have included a large delegation, "gave
some credence to rumors (in August) of a senior leadership
power struggle" (reftel). He added, however, that regime
officials had dealt directly with the Russian Government,
through their mission in Moscow, and "we (in Rangoon) were
completely in the dark about the postponement of the visit."
(Comment from DAO: Attache sources say that Maung Aye's trip
was postponed because President Putin would be in New York
for the UNGA. End Comment.)



6. (C) Note: At about the same time that Maung Aye postponed
his Russia trip, Prime Minister General Soe Win postponed an
official visit to Beijing. Chinese diplomats tell us,
however, that this was a PRC decision in order to "take more
time to prepare deliverables." They noted that then-Prime
Minister General Khin Nyunt had secured a dozen agreements
during his July 2004 China trip (just months before his
ouster) and the PRC did not want Soe Win "to lose face and
return empty-handed from China." End Note.



7. (C) Comment: We see a common pattern in the SPDC's
foreign relations. Those countries which choose to engage
Burma do so primarily to support their own national interests
(e.g. Russia and its commercial arms relationship). The
military regime welcomes the engagement, mostly as a means to
bolster its own legitimacy, but resists any effort to
influence its behavior or decision-making--essentially
treating those who engage no differently than those who
choose to isolate. Maung Aye is likely to reschedule his
Moscow trip and the regime is keen to maintain warm relations
with Russia. He and his junta brethren, however, perceive no
repercussions in placing a low priority on such gestures.
End Comment.
Villarosa