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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BUDAPEST879 2009-12-10 13:37:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Budapest
Cable title:  

HUNGARY RESPONSE: PRESSING FOR DIALOGUE IN BURMA

Tags:   PREL PGOV BM HU 
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RR RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHUP #0879 3441337
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101337Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4741
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0004
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BUDAPEST 000879 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS LAURA SCHIEBE AND EUR/CE JAMIE MOORE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2012
TAGS: PREL PGOV BM HU
SUBJECT: HUNGARY RESPONSE: PRESSING FOR DIALOGUE IN BURMA

REF: STATE 121789

Classified By: PolOff Ryan Leong for reasons 1.4 B and D



1. (C) Poloff delivered reftel message and talking points to
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asia/Pacific Department Head
Gyula Petho and Southeast Asia Section Head Laszlo Takacs on
December 8, 2009. Petho said that Hungary's policy towards
Burma was essentially the same as that of the United States
and mirrored standard EU policies. Hungary's accredited
Ambassador to Burma is based in Bangkok and travels once or
twice a year to Burma to meet with local level officials,
often bypassing Rangoon altogether. The last visit occurred
in early October 2009 when the Hungarian Ambassador was part
of a UN-organized trip to meet with a variety of local
Burmese contacts.



2. (C) Petho strongly approved of the new U.S. policy of
engaging the Burmese Government, as the previous policy of
"isolating a country that wanted to be isolated" clearly was
not having any impact on the longevity of the military junta.
Furthermore, he believed that the new U.S. policy of
engagement, coupled with the EU's slowly changing policies
along the same trajectory, should deliver tangible results in
the medium term. Petho did not know why Burma was removed as
an agenda item from the final draft of the December 8 EU
External Relations meeting (formerly GAERC).



3. (C) Petho emphasized that two main points have to be taken
into account when approaching the Burma issue: irst, that it
is a multilingual and multiethnic society whose unity has to
be maintained and, second, whatever change happens in the
future, the Burmese military has to be engaged rather than
avoided. He noted that the "age factor" is affecting both
the ruling junta and the opposition, as personalities on both
sides have changed little since the current government came
to power in 1988. Petho believes that the younger, mid-level
cadre of Burmese military officers are almost certainly more
open to dialogue with the international community, and that a
range of civilian leaders at all levels would provide more
traction than engaging with the generals at the top. He said
the generals "may be crazy but are not stupid" and could
likely be cajoled into realizing that this new outreach by
the international community is an opportunity to save
themselves from the inevitable.



4. (C) Regarding the planned 2010 elections, Petho said that
even if the opposition was allowed to participate in the
elections, they would not likely be free and fair by OSCE
standards, but rather "acceptable." Citing the recent
Afghanistan elections, he said that "acceptable" was about
the best possible outcome given the circumstances. He
believed that India and China would be difficult to enlist in
reform efforts in Burma given their current dominant position
in trade and development, which would almost certainly be
threatened by competing European and American firms should
the country's economy open up.



5. (C) As far as bilateral relations were concerned, Hungary
has minimal trade relations with Burma (roughly 200,000 Euros
per year). Any engagement with the Burmese Government by
Hungary is typically done within the multi-lateral framework
of the UN or EU-ASEAN. The Burmese delegation accredited to
Hungary resides in Moscow and has not visited Budapest in
recent memory.
LEVINE