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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06RANGOON505 2006-04-20 09:08:00 SECRET Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

NLD HOLDS OUT HOPE FOR DIALOGUE

Tags:   PGOV PHUM ECON PREL BM 
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VZCZCXRO8776
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGO #0505/01 1100908
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 200908Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4436
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0811
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9587
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 4107
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1567
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3284
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 6682
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 4296
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA 0698
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0699
RUDKIA/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 0339
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2632
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0274
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
					S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000505 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON PREL BM
SUBJECT: NLD HOLDS OUT HOPE FOR DIALOGUE

REF: A. RANGOON 447


B. RANGOON 110

RANGOON 00000505 001.2 OF 002


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



1. (S) Summary: NLD leaders expressed disappointment, but
not surprise, that the SPDC failed to respond directly to
their February proposal for a way out of the country's
political impasse. They plan to issue a statement within the
next few days again appealing for a genuine dialogue with the
regime. The NLD will use "soft" language in its statement to
avoid provoking the regime. Party leaders expressed hope
that the U.S. will continue to support their further appeals
for dialogue. They also reported that ASSK's personal
physician has been unable to see her since February, the
longest stretch she has been completely isolated since her
May 2003 detention. The coming weeks offer a good
opportunity for a Department statement to mark the third
anniversary of ASSK's detention, call for her release,
support the NLD's appeal for dialogue, and urge the regime to
cooperate with the international community. End Summary.



2. (C) P/E Chief met on April 19 with National League for
Democracy (NLD) Chairman U Aung Shwe and Secretary U Lwin.
The NLD headquarters had been closed April 13-17, like most
of Burma, for the Burmese Water Festival and Buddhist New
Year. The two elderly party leaders were in a relaxed mood,
but enthusiastic to be back at work and eager to talk about
recent political developments.

WAITING FOR GODOT



3. (C) U Aung Shwe said that the NLD was disappointed, but
not surprised, that the SPDC had not replied directly to the
party's February 12 proposal to convene the Parliament
elected in 1990 in exchange for recognition of the ruling
regime as a legitimate transitional executive (ref A). The
NLD proposal suggested that the regime respond by the Burmese
New Year on April 17, a traditional time for new beginnings.
U Aung Shwe reiterated the party's position that this date
was not a deadline, but rather an appeal for the regime to
respond as an auspicious gesture of good faith to the people
of Burma.



4. (C) U Aung Shwe acknowledged that the GOB recently
addressed the NLD proposal via the regime's official press
(ref A), but he said the NLD is still waiting for an official
reply. He dismissed the GOB's editorials and articles as
slanderous propaganda. "We want a genuine dialogue," he
said, "without it the country will fall into shambles." U
Lwin sharply criticized the SPDC's "explanation" to various
regional leaders that its road map and National Convention
process are the mechanism for dialogue. "We all know the NC
process offers absolutely no opportunity for dialogue," said
U Lwin, "that's why we're not participating."



5. (C) U Aung Shwe said that the NLD's Central Executive
Committee plans to issue a statement within the next few days
to point out that Burma will face serious difficulties
without dialogue. He said the NLD continued to have low
expectations that the SPDC will respond to the NLD's offer,
but he noted that the party sees no other solution for
Burma's political impasse. U Aung Shwe and U Lwin both said
that the NLD would appreciate continued U.S. support for the
party's further calls for dialogue.

DON'T POKE THE SLEEPING DOG



6. (C) U Lwin said that the NLD's forthcoming statement would
again call for an SPDC response, "but we will make the appeal
in a soft way." The NLD leaders observed that they must be
cautious and avoid provoking the regime into an even harsher

RANGOON 00000505 002.2 OF 002


crackdown. U Aung Shwe noted that the regime had recently
arrested U Aung Thein, a former member of the Rangoon
Division NLD, and charged him with illegal contact with
outlawed exile organizations. The two leaders said they had
expelled U Aung Thein from the NLD in early 2005 for
"unauthorized activities," intimating that they will not
tolerate actions by members that could potentially place the
entire NLD at risk. They added that U Aung Thein, as an NLD
member, had "lacked character" and did not do well under
regime interrogation. "He's probably telling the authorities
lots of stories in order to improve his situation," said U
Aung Shwe.

ASSK - MORE INCOMMUNICADO THAN EVER



7. (S) U Aung Shwe also addressed the status of NLD General
Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, held in isolation since May 2003.

SIPDIS
ASSK's personal physician has been unable to gain access to
her since February. On March 22, the physician had
confidently told the Charge that he would visit ASSK the
following week. The physician once enjoyed almost daily
access to her compound, but in 2005 the regime reduced his
visits to monthly or bi-monthly medical check-ups, each
requiring arduous advance negotiations (ref B). U Aung Shwe
said that this has been the longest stretch without access
for the physician. The NLD CEC will discuss possible steps
if the physician is unable to see ASSK by the end of April,
including a public statement or a personal appeal by letter
to SPDC Chairman Than Shwe.



8. (C) Comment: The party's low expectations for a direct
SPDC response are realistic. The regime clearly has no
intention of entertaining a dialogue, negotiations, or other
mechanism that involves direct communication with the
democratic opposition or discussions on a political
transition. Nonetheless, we should continue to support the
party's reasonable calls for dialogue. The coming weeks
offer a good opportunity for a Department statement that
marks the third anniversary of ASSK's current detention,
calls for her release, supports the NLD's appeal for
dialogue, and urges the regime to begin to cooperate with the
international community. End Comment.
VILLAROSA