Cablegate: Patriot Day in Rangoon

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Some 325 invited guests, including high-ranking GOB
military and civilian officials, Aung San Suu Kyi and the
senior NLD leadership, Muslim representatives, ethnic
leaders, and about 100 resident American citizens gathered
September 11 in downtown Rangoon to observe Patriot Day.
COM Martinez presented a short address and read President
Bush's Patriot Day announcement. The MSG detachment posted
the colors, a Kachin choir sang U.S. patriotic songs, and
the gathering observed a minute of silence to honor the
victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks.

2. (SBU) Following the 30-minute ceremony, invitees
repaired to a reception hosted by DAO. Aung San Suu Kyi's
rare public appearance created a stir, particularly as the
event also brought together senior military officers, ethnic
leaders, religious clerics (including the spokesman of
Burma's Shi'a community), the diplomatic corps, and business
leaders. GOB authorities worked closely with the hotel and
RSO to provide excellent and unobtrusive security for the
event. Media coverage was good, and many resident Amcits
voiced appreciation for being included. COM drew on very
helpful media talking points provided by PA for her remarks.

3. (SBU) This event, a successful, dignified commemoration
of Patriot Day, also provided a much-needed venue to bring
together Burmese of various political and ethnic persuasions
who rarely have the opportunity to meet face-to-face. ASSK
told the COM that it was "wonderful" to meet with young
attendees (e.g., the members of the Kachin choir) and also
with many ambassadors who she said "rarely come close to
me." At one point several senior ethnic leader and Aung San
Suu Kyi were conversing in a corner--we quickly scanned the
room for the senior GOB representative (instant tripartite
dialogue?) but he had unfortunately just departed. Given
the many compliments we received from numbers ambassadors
and from ASSK on the excellent contact opportunities the
event provided, post plans more such large public diplomacy
events in the future.

© Scoop Media

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