Oct 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA864.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA864 2007-03-16 01:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7043
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0864 0750143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160143Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5705
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS MANILA 000864

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL RP BM
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES LOOKING FOR WAYS TO NUDGE BURMA TOWARD DEMOCRACY

REF: MANILA 593 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (SBU) Summary: In a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) on March 2, EAP/MTS Director Marciel underscored the USG’s
concern with the Burmese government’s record on democracy and rights
and urged the Philippines, while chairing ASEAN, to press for a
unified, regional voice to seek political change in Burma. Manalo
expressed support for a “caring and sharing” approach that might
include training for Burmese diplomats and perhaps local officials.
The DFA has traditionally been less forward-leaning on Burma than
Philippine political leadership, especially President Arroyo. End
Summary.

¶2. (SBU) EAP/MTS Director Marciel and Pol/C met on March 2 with
Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Asia and the Pacific
Romeo Manalo to discuss Burma. Marciel expressed the USG’s concern
over negative developments in Burma and their implications for
regional security. He urged the Philippines and ASEAN to press for
progress toward democracy, but not to confuse completion of the
National Convention with genuine progress. The current National
Convention would not lead to national reconciliation and instead
seemed an instrument to exclude the opposition while retaining power
by the military. He expressed appreciation for the thoughtful
remarks in the Chairman’s statement at the January ASEAN Summit, and
urged that the Philippines continue to play a leadership role in
ensuring that ASEAN encouraged positive change in Burma.

¶3. (SBU) A/S Manalo assured Marciel that the Philippines also
remained concerned about Burma, but asserted that “country-bashing”
would be counter-productive. Manalo stated that pushing Burmese
government too hard might cause its leaders to retrench and endanger
democratization. Manalo acknowledged that the ASEAN “troika” of the
Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia had not yet been able to take
action, because the Burmese authorities had not responded positively
to the concept. He noted that the DFA was considering an offer to
train Burmese diplomats and perhaps local officials as part of
ASEAN’s overall theme this year of a “caring and sharing” community.
Manalo expressed interest in any creative ideas or other
information on how to engage Burma from U.S. think tanks or other
groups. Informally, Manalo said that former Philippine President
Fidel Ramos might be an effective new U.N. envoy to Burma.

¶4. (SBU) Comment: President Arroyo has demonstrated the strongest
Philippine leadership on Burma. The Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) is often more concerned about ASEAN unity. This was an
excellent opportunity for DFA to hear our concerns directly from
Washington.

¶5. (U) EAP/MTS Director Marciel cleared the cable.

KENNEY

   

 

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