|07SINGAPORE1852||2007-10-04 11:15:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Singapore|
VZCZCXRO6530 PP RUEHDT RUEHPB DE RUEHGP #1852/01 2771115 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 041115Z OCT 07 FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4170 INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0089 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SINGAPORE 001852
1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Lee's Principal Private
Secretary Lawrence Wong provided Charge a readout October 4
of UN Special Advisor Gambari's Burma mission that tracked
closely with what our UK colleagues heard from Gambari
October 3: Gambari had delivered the international
community's views unambiguously to the generals; he had
limited opportunity to assess the mood on the ground; his
second meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi suggested some progress
in establishing a dialogue; and China had played a key role
in gaining Gambari access to Than Shwe. Wong discussed
growing sentiment that Singapore and ASEAN had to take a
tough stance with Burma's regime. He confirmed that Prime
Minister Soe Win had returned to Burma in recent days after
extended medical treatment here, but denied press reports
that Soe Win had died. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Singapore Prime Minister (PM) Lee's Principal Private
Secretary Lawrence Wong told the Charge October 4 that the PM
found encouraging UN Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari's
readout of his mission (ref A) to Burma, though Wong had few
specific details to provide. Wong, who participated in the
PM's October 3 meeting with Gambari, said Gambari reported
delivering a tough message of international concern to
Burma's top four ruling generals, including Than Shwe and
Maung Aye. Gambari also tried to get an assessment of the
mood among principal actors in the country, though he had not
been able to meet with dissident monks.
3. (C) Wong interpreted Gambari's second meeting with Aung
San Suu Kyi (ASSK) as an indication Gambari had succeeded in
initiating, in a very preliminary way, some sort of dialogue
between the regime and the democratic opposition. Wong said
Gambari had credited China with playing a major role in
facilitating his access to Than Shwe and the generals. Wong
said the GOS believes the UN is the proper venue to address
the issue and said next steps would depend on Gambari's
report and recommendations.
4. (C) Wong's account tracks closely with a readout we
obtained the evening of October 3 of a meeting earlier that
day between Gambari and UK High Commissioner Paul Madden.
The High Commission told us Gambari had said he went to Burma
with three goals: to convey to the generals a clear sense of
international outrage; to assess the situation on the ground;
and to initiate a dialogue between the regime and the
opposition, including ASSK. Gambari told Madden he had
succeeded in conveying the views of the international
community to the generals. He had not been fully successful
in assessing the situation because his schedule had been
fully programmed, allowing him only limited time in Rangoon.
5. (C) Gambari declined to provide Madden details on
whether he had succeeded in initiating a dialogue until after
he had briefed UNSYG Ban Ki-moon on October 4 and the UN
Security Council on October 5. However, the High Commission
interpreted Gambari's second meeting with ASSK as a hopeful
signal. Gambari told Madden that China's had played an
important role in "extending his visit."
6. (C) Wong said that the ASEAN Foreign Minister's statement
of September 27 reflected a widespread feeling that ASEAN had
to take tougher stand on Burma. Frustration with Burma had
already been mounting within ASEAN, but events in recent
weeks had put ASEAN's credibility and reputation at stake.
Wong said there was a consensus among GOS leaders that
Singapore could not be on the side of the regime when it
obviously had lost the support of the Burmese people. Even
so, he did not expect Singapore would consider imposing its
own sanctions. If the UN were to impose sanctions, Singapore
would support them. Wong agreed with the Charge's
observation that the strong ASEAN Foreign Minister's
statement of September 27 had put pressure on China. Wong
said China was now playing a constructive role. India, by
contrast, had been nearly "silent." Commenting on calls from
within the ASEAN establishment to suspend Burma's membership,
Wong allowed that it was possible if the situation in Burma
deteriorated much further (see Ref B).
SINGAPORE 00001852 002 OF 002
7. (C) Wong said the GOS believes the generals will have to
be part of any solution in Burma and ought to be told clearly
that the international community understands this.
Otherwise, they will focus only on survival and will have no
incentive to reconcile or promote a democratic transition.
Wong asked whether the United States has any plans to engage
in a high-level dialogue with the regime, though he noted
that it was difficult to know whether outside messages ever
reached the people who really make decisions in Burma. Even
Prime Minister Soe Win, when he was healthy, seemed to have
limited influence. Wong recalled a 2005 ASEAN visit to Burma
just after the regime announced plans to move its capital
from Rangoon; when Soe Win read a prepared statement on the
move to the visitors, he was visibly unhappy, seemingly near
tears, about the decision, Wong said.
PM Soe Win Alive, Back in Burma
8. (C) Commenting on press reports of Soe Win's possible
death, Wong confirmed that Soe Win had left Singapore in
recent days after extended medical treatment here. He stated
that Soe Win is still alive, but did not provide details on
his state of health.
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