Oct 272014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/03/08MANILA654.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA654
2008-03-14 01:33
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4549
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0654/01 0740133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140133Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0134
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6328
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2772
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3504
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0261
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000654

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP BM
SUBJECT: EAP DAS STRESSES NEED TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON BURMA

REF: A. SECSTATE 22937

¶B. MANILA 282 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In meetings with senior Philippine
government officials at the Presidential Palace and
Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as foreign diplomats
and the Embassy community, EAP Deputy Assistant Secretary
Scot Marciel underscored the USG’s continuing efforts to
produce concrete moves toward democracy in Burma. Together
with Ambassador Kenney, DAS Marciel reiterated U.S.
appreciation for the Philippine government’s continued strong
stance on Burma, particularly at the last ASEAN summit in
Singapore and at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier
this year. Arriving on the eve of UN Special Advisor
Gambari’s March 6 visit to Burma, DAS Marciel noted that the
Burmese regime could demonstrate its seriousness about making
democratic reforms by beginning a genuine dialogue with Aung
San Suu Kyi and others. He also voiced deep concern over the
regime’s planned May referendum on a draft constitution,
which lacked any opposition input or review. Philippine
officials assured DAS Marciel that they would continue to
press Burma to show progress toward democracy. Subsequently,
President Arroyo again publicly criticized the Burmese junta,
saying its decision to reject foreign observers for the May
referendum was “a sad day for democracy and our region.” END
SUMMARY.

ENCOURAGING CONTINUED PHILIPPINE SUPPORT
—————————————-

¶2. (SBU) DAS Marciel joined the Ambassador for a March 3
meeting at Malacanang Palace with Presidential Executive
Secretary Eduardo Ermita, where the Ambassador expressed

SIPDIS
appreciation for President Arroyo’s outspoken support for
clear and concrete steps toward democratization on the part
of the Burmese regime. DAS Marciel noted that public
pressure on the Burmese junta would continue to be necessary,
and that support was especially important coming from fellow
ASEAN countries such as the Philippines. Acting Assistant
Secretary for American Affairs Lourdes Yparraguirre, who

SIPDIS
represented the Department of Foreign Affairs at the meeting,
welcomed these observations.

¶3. (SBU) Subsequently, President Arroyo publicly denounced
March 9 the Burmese junta’s rejection of a UN proposal to
monitor the planned constitutional referendum in May, calling
on the Burmese government to “do the right thing” and allow
outside observers. President Arroyo said that allowing
outside observers would be a small but modest step towards
democratization that was “long overdue in Myanmar.” She
bluntly characterized the junta’s rejection of the UN
proposal as a “sad day for democracy and our region.”

¶4. (SBU) DAS Marciel discussed Burma issues at the Department
of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a March 3 meeting with Assistant
Secretary Romeo Manalo and Executive Director Hellen Barber

SIPDIS
of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Office. DAS Marciel thanked
Manalo and the DFA for their consistent support (ref B) on
Burma and expressed concerns (ref A) about the Burmese
regime’s plans for a constitutional referendum, which he said
lack the means either to assure credibility and transparency,
or to allow the opposition to review or provide input on the
draft constitution. DAS Marciel explained the U.S. position
on Burma as supportive of UN efforts to encourage a genuine
dialogue leading to a political transition. Although the
U.S. spoke out more strongly than most countries on Burma,
there was in fact much agreement among concerned countries on
the need for national reconciliation and a more inclusive
political process. The U.S. understood that a transition
likely would take time, and that the military would continue
to play a role in the process. We were focusing our efforts
on encouraging the international community to continue to
work together to press the Burmese regime to open its
political process and begin a genuine dialogue. The U.S. had
serious concerns about the upcoming referendum, but
encouraged ASEAN and other nations to support clear
benchmarks by which its credibility and fairness could be
measured. Manalo noted these points and reiterated support
for efforts to increase international pressure on the Burmese
regime. Manalo agreed that a legitimate dialogue leading to
democratic reforms was an important goal and that freeing
political prisoners should serve as a benchmark of Burma’s
progress.

MANILA 00000654 002 OF 002

BURMA DIPLOMACY WITH OTHER MISSIONS
———————————–

¶5. (SBU) The Ambassador hosted a private breakfast on March 3
for DAS Marciel with Ambassadors from Canada, Japan, New
Zealand, and Singapore, where DAS Marciel described the
current situation in Burma and steered the discussion toward
promoting a sense of collective responsibility. DAS Marciel
also discussed ways that all countries — especially ASEAN
countries — could support the current Gambari mission to
Burma. The Ambassador underscored that the so-called
“likeminded Ambassadors” (Australia, Canada, Japan, New
Zealand, Singapore, and the UK) had been strong partners,
which all parties concurred had helped the Philippines be a
stalwart supporter of efforts to democratize Burma.

BRIEFING U.S. EMBASSY STAFF
—————————

¶6. (SBU) DAS Marciel discussed U.S. policy on Burma with
Embassy staff during an informal reception at the
Ambassador’s residence March 4. The Embassy staff included
entry-level officers, Country Team members, and U.S. Military
and USAID officials. DAS Marciel provided insights on how
the Burmese regime’s harsh rule had stunted Burma’s economic,
political and social growth, and resulted in rising levels of
poverty, ethnic tension and disease for those outside of the
ruling elite. Entry-level officers were especially engaged
as DAS Marciel offered thoughts on the techniques and
challenges of crafting Burma policy in Washington and
articulating it abroad.

¶7. (U) DAS Marciel cleared this cable.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.
KENNEY

   

 

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