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Cablegate: Kowi Partners Meet, Lay Out Concerns to Gob

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

UNCLAS RANGOON 000790

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, INL
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV BM
SUBJECT: KOWI PARTNERS MEET, LAY OUT CONCERNS TO GOB

REF: A. RANGOON 680
B. RANGOON 240

1. (SBU) ACCORDING TO UNODC'S BURMA OFFICE, ON JUNE 21ST
EIGHT AGENCIES OF THE BURMESE GOVERNMENT SAT DOWN WITH THE
UN, INGO, AND JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS FOR
THE KOKANG AND WA INITIATIVE (KOWI) TO DISCUSS BARRIERS TO
SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION. NO DONORS WERE INVITED TO ATTEND.
ACCORDING TO UNODC IT WAS THE FIRST TIME ALL PARTNERS WERE
AT THE TABLE TOGETHER WITH RELEVANT GOB AGENCIES TO DISCUSS
THE PROGRAM. IF SUCCESSFUL, KOWI WILL PROVIDE CROP
SUBSTITUTION AND OTHER ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS WHO FORMERLY
RELIED ON GROWING OPIUM POPPIES.

2. (SBU) AT THE MEETING, CHAIRED BY THE HOME AFFAIRS
MINISTRY'S CENTRAL COMMITTEE FOR DRUG ABUSE CONTROL (CCDAC),
THE 17 IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS TABLED A LIST OF EIGHT
OPERATIONAL AREAS IN WHICH IMPROVEMENT WAS NEEDED IN THE WA
AND KOKANG REGIONS. UNODC SAID THE PARTNERS WOULD FURTHER
FLESH THESE ISSUES OUT THEN PRESENT THEM FORMALLY (THOUGH IN
AN INFORMAL WAY) TO THE GOB FOR FURTHER ACTION. THE EIGHT
AREAS ARE:

-- IMPROVED TRANSPORT AND ACCESS INTO THE REGION AND WITHIN
THE REGION (PARTICULARLY BETWEEN MILITARY REGIONS);
-- SECURER METHODS TO TRANSFER FUNDS INTO THE REGION;
-- BETTER ACCESS TO CHINA (FOR PROCUREMENT OF GOODS AND FOR
BANKING OF NEEDED FUNDS);
-- BETTER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN RANGOON AND THE FIELD AND
BETWEEN IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS. THE BEST WOULD BE AN
INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATION SYSTEM THAT IS NOT RELIANT ON THE
GOB'S ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AND IS NOT CONTROLLED BY THE LOCAL
AUTHORITIES;
-- BETTER SECURITY, INDEPENDENT OF THE MILITARY OR POLICE
FORCES WHOSE ACTIVITIES IN THE WA AND KOKANG CEASE-FIRE AREAS
ARE OFTEN CONSTRAINED, FOR WORKERS IN THE REGION;
-- ACCESS TO A RELIABLE MEDEVAC SERVICE;
-- MORE LENIENT IMPORT RESTRICTIONS, PARTICULARLY FOR
AUTOMOBILES. WE NOTE THAT THIS IS A BURDEN FOR ALL NGOS, AND
OTHERS WITHOUT DUTY-FREE PRIVILEGES, OPERATING IN BURMA.
THOUGH ILLEGALLY IMPORTED CARS ARE WIDELY AVAILABLE IN THE
BORDER AREAS, THE GOB ONLY ALLOWS THE CLOSEST BUSINESS
CRONIES TO LEGALLY IMPORT VEHICLES; AND,
-- DEVELOPMENT OF A LONG-TERM PLAN BY THE GOB TO ENSURE
SUSTAINABILITY OF THE PROJECT FOLLOWING THE PHASE-OUT OF UN
INVOLVEMENT.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: CONSIDERING THE VAST NUMBER OF INVOLVED
PARTIES, CONTINUATION OF THIS TYPE OF ALL-HANDS COORDINATION
WILL BE VITAL TO MAXIMIZING THE POTENTIAL OF THE KOWI
PROJECT. THE CONCERNS THE PARTNERS RAISED ARE EXTREMELY
VALID, BUT THEY WILL BE EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE TO RECTIFY. EVEN
IF PARTNERS, OR DONORS, ARE WILLING TO FOOT THE BILL, WE ARE
DOUBTFUL THE GOB WILL BE ABLE TO (OR WILLING TO IN SOME
CASES) ADDRESS MANY OF THESE SENSITIVE ISSUES. END COMMENT.
MARTINEZ

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