Press Conference

Does Drinking Baking Soda and Water Help Pass a Drug Test

Some opium-trafficking
insurgents, who get foreign assistance, launching fabrications against Wa
Foreign diplomats continue Wa region visit


Foreign diplomats including Dean
of the Diplomatic Corps Ambassador of Laos Mr Ly Bounkham and heads of foreign
missions visited Kengtung and its central market on 2 April morning. Led by
Chairman of Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control of Myanmar Minister for
Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing and Vice-Chairman Minister for Foreign Affairs U Win
Aung, the diplomats left Kengtung for Pansang in Wa region by helicopter at 10


On arrival at Pansang at 11 am,
they were welcomed by Wa national race leader U Pauk Yu Chan and officials. U
Pauk Yu Chan met with them at Maezin Hotel. He said as the Wa people had to
engage in battles under the Burma Communist Party, they were not able to conduct
regional development undertakings. They were able to develop the roads, bridges,
schools and dispensaries only after peace had been restored. A plan was laid
down in 1990 to reduce poppy cultivation annually to totally end the practice
and to eradicate the narcotic drugs. In 1996, an order to eliminate the narcotic
drugs was issued. It had been declared to the world in 1997 that efforts will be
made under the leadership of the government of the Union of Myanmar to totally
free the Wa region from narcotic drugs.




drug eradication task has been carried out with greater momentum since 10 years
ago. The Wa region has gained greater success in carrying out the task. And its
success has been acknowledged by the local and the international communities.
There has been misunderstanding concerning the drug elimination task of the Wa
region as it has no media coverage. Especially, some of the opium-trafficking
insurgents, who get foreign assistance, are launching fabrications concerning
the situation at Thai-Myanmar border. They are trying to belittle the sincere
efforts of the Wa people. The Wa region has to suffer much due to such
perpetrations. The Ywet Sit group is trying to launch fabrications as if the Wa
group was getting involved in the drug business.

The Ywet Sit group in collusion
with some capitalists is transgressing the Myanmar territory at the border and
producing narcotic drugs. But the Ywet Sit group is trying to put the blame on
the Wa group. In replying to the questions raised by the heads of foreign
missions, U Paw Yu Chan said that the Wa national group is striving to eradicate
the cultivation and production of narcotic drugs with the use of money earned
from timber, mining, gems and other businesses permitted by the State. The State
has provided assistance for the regional development tasks being undertaken by
the Wa national group. Measures are being taken to improve the standard of
education and health, promote social status and develop the intellectual power
of national youths.




Cultivation of opium-substitute
crops is meeting with success. Livestock breeding work and other businesses are
being done, and factories are being extended by means of hydro-electric power.
The living standard of Wa nationals will rise in future. They were served with
lunch at the Maezin Hotel. Then, the ministers and the heads of foreign missions
looked round Pankham Cigarette Factory and Honpan Distillery. Afterwards, they
left there by helicopter and arrived at (special township) in Honpan Township at
3 pm. Leader of Wa nationals U Aik Ron explained measures taken for the
eradication of cultivation and production of narcotic drugs in Nantit Township,
progress of work and future tasks.


In replying to the questions
raised by the heads of foreign missions, he said that the State has given
encouragement and assistance for the development of the region. Nantit Township
consists of six village-tracts. Now, there are no traces of cultivation of opium
whatsoever in four village-tracts except in two village-tracts. The cultivation
of opium is on the decrease every year. In doing opium-substitute cultivation,
quality paddy strains, rubber, lychee, mangoes, oranges and tea plants have been
grown since 1996-97.




Hydro-electric power factories
have been built, and industries are being extended. Then, they viewed the rubber
plantations, and Nammarhaw Bridge across the border river. They left there by
helicopter and arrived at Lashio Airport in northern Shan State at 5 pm. They
were welcomed there by Commander of North-East Command Brig-Gen Myint Hlaing who
hosted a dinner in their honour at Shweli Yeiktha of the command. They were also
entertained to Shan cultural dances. Next, the heads of foreign missions sang
the traditional songs of respective countries and presented a basket of flowers
to the cultural dance. They also played golf together with the commander and the
deputy commander of North-East Command at Lashio Golf Course 3 April morning.
They then toured Lashio and left for Yangon by air.


Egyptian Ambassador
I came here in 1998. This is my 4th year
and I am about to finish my 4th year. And this is my 1st visit to Lashio. I came
before to Shan State but not to this city. And this is the very beautiful city
and a very beautiful region and really, we are seeing the efforts of the Myanmar
authorities in the field of eradication of drugs and they are doing a very big
effort together with the local authorities. And the trip itself is very pleasant
and we are seeing more how Myanmar people are very nice and this is not a
complement. This is from my heart and I would like to have this opportunity to
thank the Myanmar authority for organizing this trip and with a special thanks
to ministers, the Home Ministry and Foreign Ministry for    the care which they
gave us during the trip. And to thank also all the local authorities and cities
which we have visited.

Because part of the problem tl1at
they don’t understand the original situation in Myanmar and partly some mass
medias they have their own interest and they don’t have the same idea. So here
because you might take the case of Columbia which with the help of the United
States, with the help of the government of Columbia, they could do nothing. I
mean it is so complicated and also there is the demand side and you have more
and more opium countries which decriminalized the use of drugs. So it is very
very complicated and they couldn’t just finish it in one second or in one step.
And it needs a lot of cooperation and Myanmar really needs the help of the
international community and even with the help of the international community,
it wouldn’t be an easy task.

Ambassador of Islamic
Republic of Pakistan

I have been almost one- and-a- half year
in the beautiful country, Myanmar .It is such a pleasure being here. Because
what we have heard from international press, which is very unfortunate and it is
not fair for this country. This country with its megare resources is doing a
tremendous job. And we are very grateful to MOF A to arrange this trip for the
ambassadors to see for themselves and as they say in English “Seeing is
believing ” and I have been very impress with the efforts of that the government
is doing especially in keeping all the ethnic tribes in peaceful and a very nice
manner. When the problems are all settled and mind you with the megare resources
and the government is doing an excellent job also the government is fighting on
the front to eradicate the drug menace. These are the important fronts. The
international community must support Myanmar and must give encouragement with
these megare resources to do which will benefit such a wonderful job. So we
ambassadors have seen this for ourselves and we are thoroughly impress and we
are very grateful to the government for gave us this opportunity to see things
for ourselves. We requested government to make more trips like this where we can
make our assessments and expose the unfortunate and very bias international
opinion towards this country.

Ambassador of Lao’s
People Democratic Republic

I am posted in Myanmar since 1994 .So this is my trip 2nd trip to this area. So
I could say that I really enjoy this trip and I also see a lot of improvements
in these areas I visited and I think everybody enjoyed the trip. I must say what
is done by local leaders, I could say that they have their efforts to learn to
reach the target for total eradication of drugs in year 2005. So I really
appreciate their determination to reach their target.

When 1st trip to these areas, I
guess it is time to view a lot of new development in PangSai , Shan Tone and
even in Lashio ,we learn that many achievements done by the people. I think the
condition of lives of the people are better improve this time.

Ambassador of

I have completed 2nd year in Yangon Ministry of Foreign Affairs and    Ministry
of Home Affairs has arranged this visit to show us poppy eradication project and
we met Wa national leaders who explained us about the their endeavors to
eradicate poppy cultivation in hilly areas and we think that they are trying
sincerely to reduce the poppy production.

American Charge’ de

This has been a very interesting trip and we have seen a lot of different places
and we have been impressed by the government’s policy towards narcotics. We hope
that they will able to follow through various policies that they have explained
to us. I have been here almost three years. I have been to these areas before
but I have been coming to these areas for about (two -and- a- half – years) and
so I have been able to see the progress and development of some of the areas. It
has more developed than my first trip. They have achieved more economic
development than during Myanmar first trip. It is hard to compare to outside
reports because there are many different kinds of reports. Some of them, I think
are quite accurate and some of them are not very accurate. I have been following
the situation for more than three years and also I know a lot about it and I
think that there is some progress are being made however there is still a big
problem with kind of narcotics here in these areas Myanmar government remain
very concerned about it. Well, I think the problem is drug trafficking I mean it
becomes a major security problem for this country and I think the ‘government
rightfully has to give a serious attention. It is a security problem. There is
major drug trafficking from this country and in thee whole area.


Ambassador of Singapore
I arrived here 2 years ago in the year 2000. This is my 2nd trip to Lashio. 1st
trip to Wa region. The government and the Wa seemed to be determined to
eradicate poppy plantations and substituted with other cash crops. I think from
what they told us, both of them, government and Wa have made on pledged by the
year 2005. Entire Wa region will be free of poppy cultivation. that is the good
news fur Myanmar. It is always different when you are on the ground. We have
not, of course, been everywhere in Myanmar. But to the places I have been to,
are quite impress with the efforts that are being made by the government to
address this problem.