Mon 26 Jul 2004
Filed under: Interviews,News
The following is an unofficial translation of a broadcast made in Burmese on July 24, 2004:
Master of Ceremony: United States did not support Dr. Zar Ni, a leader of US based Free Burma Coalition in his trip to Burma, an official from US Department of State told RFA. Dr. Zar Ni went to Rangoon on May 31, 2004 and met with the Burmese military junta’s officials. RFA already broadcast
the interview with DR. Zar Ni on his trip to Rangoon on July 16 and 17, 2004. Dr. Zar Ni told the RFA firmly that his trip was supported by the US Government.
Dear Listeners; regarding with this issue, RFA’s U Min Zin had a chance to ask an official from US Department of State exclusively. Please listen.
RFA: Dear listeners: Dr. Zar Ni told the RFA and the other media that he got official support from the US Department of State to make a visit to Rangoon. We contacted the State Department to confirm his claim. When we asked what kind of support rendered by the State Depart to Dr. Zar Ni,
because Dr. Zar Ni claimed that his trip was supported by the US Department of State (US DOS), an official from US DOS answered as follows:
Answer: With respect to support, the answer is no. Zarni was not traveling at behest of request of or on behalf of US govt. He did meet with US officials in Washington before he traveled and he informed them his intention. But US policy toward Burma remains unchanged. Zarni, I understand, indicated July 17 interview with Radio Free Asia that he once
supported sanctions in Burma he now questions their efficacy. United State considers the sanction on Burma is useful tool to encourage the regime change the policy to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners and open the NLD offices and engage the democratic opposition in dialogue leading to democracy and national reconciliation.
RFA: It was the official reply of US DOS. If so, why did US DOS in Washington meet with Zar Ni before his trip? We asked. The reply is;
Answer: We meet many elements of Burmese Diaspora here. But I said he is not traveling at behest of or on behalf of US government
RFA: OK, if there are usual practices in meeting with Burmese dissidents, did US embassy in Rangoon facilitate anything for Dr. Zar Ni during his trip?
Answer: And also US embassy in Rangoon neither facilitates Zarni’s travel nor met with him during his visit to Burma.
RFA: Do you know what kind of document Zarni used when he entered Burma or returned US.
A. I’d have to refer you to Department of Home Land Security regarding any question about his immigration status.
RFA:Â Department of Homeland Security is a new department established only after September 11 terrorist attack and responsible for immigration issues. Dr. Zar Ni was granted political asylee status in the US due to his claim that he will be in danger of arrest and torture by the military
regime if he were forced to return to Burma. We asked that is there any possibility that he violated the immigration rule by visiting Rangoon, where he claimed as a dangerous place?
US DOS official referred to check with US Department of Homeland Security. He also said that it (US DHS) would be the appropriate department to find out Dr. Zar Ni’s immigration status.