Monday, June 22, 2009

Russia Rejects Pressuring Burma

The Irrawaddy News

The Russia Foreign Ministry Department in Moscow has rejected using political and economic pressure to influence the Burmese government, said Moscow’s Itar-Tass Russian News Agency on Sunday.

According to the news website,, the Russia Foreign Ministry Department said that Russia opposed attempts to internationalize the internal situation in Burma as it did not endanger peace and security in the region or in the world at large.

“In our opinion, the political and economic pressure on that country is counterproductive, as it enhances isolationist feelings of the Myanmar military and exacerbates the [poor] socioeconomic position of citizens,” the department said.

A Russian diplomat in Thailand, who participated at the forum on Burma held at Chulalongkorn University on the anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday on Friday, June 19, said, “We don’t see Burma as a threat and danger to world security.”

He also rejected Burmese activists’ calls on the UN to isolate the Burmese military government from the world.

The Russian Foreign Ministry Department said that they hoped the trial of Burma’s opposition leader Suu Kyi would be unbiased and strictly comply with national laws and humanitarian standards, and that it would take into account international opinion.

Suu Kyi is being charged by the Burmese government and held in Rangoon’s Insein prison on charges of violating her house arrest after an American man swam to her lakeside home. If she is found guilty, she could be sentenced to five years in prison. She has already served more than 13 years in detention under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Burmese activists and the international community have called on the UN to put more pressure on the Burmese government to release Suu Kyi. The activists have also called for Asean to suspend Burma as a member of the organization.

Russia has kept a strong relationship with the Burmese military, and several thousand Burmese military officials and technicians have studied in Russia.

In 2007, Russia’s federal nuclear agency, Rosatom, announced they were collaborating in the construction of a 10 megawatt nuclear reactor in Burma. According to the Russians and the Burmese, the small reactor could only be used for the production of isotopes for use in the medical, agricultural and industrial sectors.

Russia and China, who are permanent members of the UN Security Council, have opposed putting the Burma issue on the agenda at the UN Security Council.

The two countries have kept strong relationships with the Burmese government and have rarely criticized the Burmese government.

However, China recently told Burmese junta No.2 Gen Maung Aye to promote democracy in the country when he visited China last week.

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