Oct 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09MANILA1081.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1081
2009-05-19 09:42
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7753
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1081 1390942
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 190942Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4163
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 001081

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES PRESSING ASEAN FOR STRONGER BURMA RESPONSE

REF: MANILA 1065

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) In a frank private discussion May 19 over lunch,
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo expressed his
government’s disappointment at what he characterized as the
“weak” May 18 ASEAN chairman’s statement released by ASEAN
Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, calling for the release of
imprisoned Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Secretary Romulo criticized the statement’s reference to Suu
Kyi’s weak health as the basis for recommending her release.
Referring to ASEAN’s longstanding policy toward the Burmese
regime, Secretary Romulo opined that, “Engagement is a good
thing, but the time comes when one must speak up when another
government is doing something wrong.”

¶2. (C) Secretary Romulo noted that, immediately following
his “cordial” phone conversation with Secretary Clinton the
evening of May 16, Manila time, he had spoken with Philippine
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the two had agreed on
the need for the strong Philippine response that followed on
May 17 (reftel). He said that discussion led to the robust
language in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ public
statement, which called for ASSK’s immediate release and
condemned the Burmese government’s use of “trumped-up
charges” to detain the opposition leader.

¶3. (C) COMMENT: Secretary Romulo said that the Philippine
government would continue to press ASEAN to take a stronger
stance on Burma’s lack of progress toward democracy, but was
not optimistic that a tougher stance was forthcoming anytime
soon, given ASEAN’s consensus-based decisionmaking approach
and traditional noninterference in other states’ internal
affairs. Secretary Romulo also clearly welcomed the call
from Secretary Clinton, which bolstered the Philippine
government’s natural tendency to support more rapid progress
toward democracy and human rights among all its ASEAN
partners, a stance which has sometimes led to Manila feeling
isolated in the region.
KENNEY

   

 

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