Some opium-trafficking insurgents, who get foreign assistance, launching fabrications against Wa people
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 am.

    

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.

    

 

    

The 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 Bangladesh
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 Affair
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.

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