Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/01/08MANILA282.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA282
2008-01-31 08:53
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO5845
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0282 0310853
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 310853Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9621
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 000282

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP BM
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO KEEPS UP PRESSURE ON BURMA

REF: A. 2007 MANILA 3964
¶B. 2007 MANILA 3875
¶C. MANILA 3775 AND PREVIOUS

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Philippine President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo’s strong remarks on Burma at World Economic
Forum meetings in Switzerland have kept the junta’s behavior
in the Philippine public spotlight, and a prominent
Philippine opposition leader has publicly echoed her views.
The Philippine press as well continues to report on the
Burmese regime’s ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy
activists. Working-level Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
colleagues underscored the point that although the Philippine
government remains resolute in its advocacy for democracy in
Burma, ASEAN nations with closer ties to Burma may ultimately
wield more leverage in effecting change. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) President Arroyo used the occasion of the
high-level Davos session on “The Emerging Asian Community:
Role of ASEAN” to warn once again that, absent the freeing of
detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Philippine
Senate would not ratify the new ASEAN charter signed at the
organization’s November summit. President Arroyo said, “We
must work together to make the tough choices to make ASEAN
real and Aung San Suu Kyi free”, later emphatically
reasserting “we must see political reform; we must see Aung
San Suu Kyi released — and now.”

¶3. (SBU) In a rare display of accord with Arroyo, Senate
Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, a frequent Arroyo critic,
also called publicly on the regime to release Aung San Suu
Kyi and make moves toward democracy. Pimentel, the head of
an informal congressional group focused on Burma, even
demanded Burma’s expulsion from ASEAN in the absence of
concrete steps by the junta toward democracy. Pimentel’s
statements were widely reported in Philippine leading
dailies; President Arroyo’s strong remarks in Davos likewise
received widespread coverage.

¶4. (C) DFA Asia-Pacific Office Executive Secretary Hellen
Barber underscored that her President’s oft-repeated
assertion that Philippine ratification of ASEAN’s new charter
was not possible without the release of detained democracy
activist Suu Kyi reflected basic political reality, given the
presence of an active Burma-focused caucus in the Philippine
congress. She acknowledged that, given its minimal trade and
contact with Burma, Philippines was less positioned to
influence the regime than Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand,
which all have more substantial Burmese investments and other
ties.
KENNEY

   

 

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