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Cablegate: Burma in the Lao News, but Not Exactly What We Want to See

VZCZCXRO9680
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHVN #0820 3102346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 062346Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1628
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS VIENTIANE 000820

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL PGOV KPAO LA BM
SUBJECT: BURMA IN THE LAO NEWS, BUT NOT EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT TO SEE

1.(U) Summary. Laos's government-controlled television, radio, and
print press covered Burma extensively in the last few days, but not
in the manner that we would like to see. Burmese Foreign Minister U
Nyan Win was in Vientiane for an official visit, participating in
the 8th meeting of the two countries' bilateral commission in
Vientiane and Luang Prabang. State media covered the Foreign
Minister's courtesy calls, the commissions' meetings, and the
importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation. End summary.

2. (U) Burmese Foreign Minister Win's October 29-November 2 visit to
Laos garnered front page coverage in the papers, as well as leading
television and radio broadcasts. This was part of an annual
exchange of visits related to the Lao-Myanmar, Myanmar-Laos
Cooperation Commission, which is headed by the Foreign Ministers of
the two countries. Win's courtesy call on Lao President Choummaly
Sayasone was the lead story in the English language paper Vientiane
Times and Lao language papers Pathet Lao, Paxason, and Vientiane
Mai. KPL, the other English language paper - usually a day behind
the others - covered the same story on November 2.

3. (U) Drawing from the Lao National News Agency's feed, the media
said the Lao President welcomed Mr. Win, conveyed his greetings to
Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Senior General
Than Schwe, and "expressed his sadness" at the death of late Prime
Minister of Burma General Soe Win. In addition, "Mr. Choummaly
praised Mr. Win for the achievements of the meeting between the two
commissions and said he highly valued the previous relations and
cooperation of both countries which had been strengthened through
the exchange of visits between high-ranking delegations."

4. (U) Coverage of the visit and the importance of strengthening
bilateral ties continued on November 2 with the placement of more
Lao National News Agency stories on discussions of Lao-Burmese
cooperation. The November 2 articles proclaimed the friendship and
mutual understanding of the two nations and said that the
commissions had confirmed their intention to pursue further
cooperation and to establish sister city relationships. Luang
Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is expected to pair up with
the Burmese city of Bagan. The two nations say they will continue
their joint efforts in areas such as border control, religion,
agriculture, and "between the ministries of foreign affairs of both
countries, in ASEAN and international arenas."

5. (U) Post notes that the articles do not appear with individual
bylines in any of the papers, and the articles are clearly sourced
to the Lao National News Agency. There is very little deviation in
the wording, and Lao National Television read from the same text.

HUSO

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