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Burma’s information minister says financial details cannot be disclosed


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Replying to a journalist’s question about why Burma did not disclose more budget and financial details after 1997, Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said on Friday “some issues cannot be disclosed” to the public.
 
The Union-level press conference in Naypyitaw was held in two sessions. In the first session, Kyaw Hsan talked for one hour and 40 minutes about the current armed conflict between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).  In the second session, he answered journalists’ questions.

Information Minister Kyaw Hsan surrounded by the Rangoon press corps. Photo: Mizzima 
Commenting on a question about government secrecy regarding financial details, he said, “Some issues cannot be disclosed to journalists.”
 
Kyaw Hsan heads a new 11-member Government Spokespersons and Information Team. Known as a hardliner, he shed tears during the press conference evoking surprise among the journalists.
 
In reply to a question about stopping the controversial Myitsone Dam project at the confluence of the Maykha and Malikha rivers, which will generate 6,000 megawatts, he said that there are no serious problems and the criticism was simply a reflection of diverse views.
  
On US sanctions against Burma, he said, “The opposition is never optimistic about the State’s action. The leaders have good intentions.” Kyaw Hsan then paused and shed tears.
 
A reporter at the press conference told Mizzima, “The room was completely silent.” A short while later, the news of his tears attracted widespread public comments on the Internet.
 
In response to the question about environmental damage caused by the Myitsone Dam project, he said that a deputy director of the Electrical Power Ministry has compiled a report about the affects on the upper river and research on the lower river is still underway. Meanwhile, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has expressed her concerns about the Myitsone Dam’s environmental consequences and the adverse effects on residents. The project has attracted widespread opposition from environmental groups and Internet commentators.
 
Kyaw Hsan said that the government would continue the project with careful deliberation on the affects and the benefits to the nation.
 
In response to questions about the status of the National League for Democracy, Kyaw Hsan said that the government would take action in accordance with laws and regulations.

Regarding the armed conflict between the KIO and the government, Kyaw Hsan blamed the KIO for the recent outbreak of fighting.

He said that the KIO’s behavior was like "a thief calling an honest person [the government] a thief." He said the KIO spread false news about government troops shooting at a vehicle and killing civilians, said a journalist who attended the press conference.

The minister said the KIO provide false information to foreign media regarding the case of a private vehicle traveling from the Taping Hydropower Plant in Momauk Township on August 2, in which seven people including a police officer were killed. He also said the KIO has destroyed roads and bridges, attacked cars and spread false other information to foreign-based media.

Kyaw Hsan alleged that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) had breached the terms of  a peace agreement and had spread lies by calling local residents war refugees.

He said that there were about 4,000 refugees in Laiza, the location of KIA headquarters, and 70 percent of them are associates of the KIA.

According to the KIO, there are more than 9,000 refugees in Laiza, Winemaw and Momauk who have been affected by the fighting that started on June 9.
Last Updated ( Friday, 12 August 2011 23:39 )  

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