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Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2004

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004

AMENDMENT NO. 1968

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I have a series of cleared amendments to the pending measure, the foreign operations
bill, which I send to the desk and ask for their immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell], for himself and Mr. Leahy, proposes an amendment numbered 1968.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

(The amendment is printed in today's RECORD under "Text of Amendments.")

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I urge we adopt these amendments en bloc.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate?

Without objection, the amendment is agreed to.

The amendment (No. 1968) was agreed to.

Mr. McCONNELL. I move to reconsider the vote and I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to take a moment to explain an amendment that was in the package I just sent forward: Conditioning assistance to Malaysia on a determination by the Secretary of State that the Government of Malaysia supports and promotes religious freedoms, including tolerance for people of the Jewish faith.

On October 16—just very recently—Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed delivered a speech before the Tenth Islamic Summit Conference in Malaysia during which he made incredible anti-Semitic comments.

Let me just give you a direct quote from what the Prime Minister of Malaysia had to say. Incredibly, here is what he said:

The Muslims will be forever oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. .    .    . 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.

[Muslims] are actually very strong.

He said:

1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.

If that was not bad enough, the Prime Minister of Malaysia went on. He said:

They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have so gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.

Now, what could be more outrageous in 2003 than for the prime minister of any country to make such unbelievably erroneous statements? They are dangerously wrong, and they play directly into the hands of the radical Islamic extremists throughout the region.

This is not an issue of free speech. His anti-Semitic remarks lend credence and legitimacy to the hateful messages of local terrorists who seek to sow mayhem throughout the region.

As I understand the importance of fighting terrorism in Mahathir's own backyard—and that his comments do not reflect the views of all Malaysians—I include, in the amendment already approved, a national security waiver that will allow the provision of $1.2 million in IMET assistance—that is the military-to-military assistance—to that country to be eliminated unless the President believes it is in the national security interests of the United States to continue it.

Now, the good news is that Mahathir's words were criticized around the world, as they certainly should have been. The bad news is that the Prime Minister just does not get it. Given an opportunity to clarify his comments a few days later, he said, in an interview with the Bangkok Post, on October 21—this is what he said to the Bangkok Post, having listened to the criticism and having an opportunity to retract his comments—he said: "Well, the reaction of the world [to my comments] shows that [the Jews] control the world" and, "Well, many newspapers are owned by the Jews. They only see that angle and they have a powerful influence over the thinking of many people."

Mahathir himself has influence over the thinking of many people. My advice is that in the future he should think before he speaks.

Let me close by encouraging Prime Minister Mahathir to unconditionally release former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim before stepping down from office later this month. This injustice has gone on for far too long.

Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Byrd amendment, which I believe is the pending
amendment, be temporarily laid aside.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

AMENDMENT NO. 1970

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell], for himself and Mr. Leahy, and Mr. McCain, proposes an amendment numbered 1970.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on Burma)

On page 111, after line 12, insert the following:

(c) It is the sense of the Senate that the United Nations Security Council should debate and consider sanctions against Burma as a result of the threat to regional stability and peace posed by the repressive and illegitimate rule of the State Peace and Development Council.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, my amendment is rather straightforward. It relates to the current regime in Burma. It simply states that it is the sense of the Senate that the United Nations Security Council should consider sanctions against Burma as a result of the threat to regional stability and peace posed by the repressive and illegitimate rule of the State Peace and Development Council; that is, the military junta that has ruled Burma for the last few decades.

While the United Nations Secretary General and his special envoy to Burma have publicly raised the struggle for freedom in that country, the Security Council itself has not considered the matter, which it should do at the earliest opportunity. The facts are self-evident. Under the SPDC, Burma poses a clear and present danger to itself and to its neighbors. Narcotics, HIV/AIDS, and refugees fleeing gross human rights abuses spill over Burma's borders and create humanitarian and security crises in Thailand, India, and China.

The Secretary General and his special envoy should understand that actions—not words—are required to free Burmese
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all her compatriots who remain oppressed and imprisoned in Rangoon.

While I appreciate the President and the Secretary of State raising the issue of democracy in Burma with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra, I am afraid the message of freedom has again fallen on deaf ears.

As a democratic nation and an ally of the United States, Thailand has a particular obligation to support democracy and justice in Burma. Many of us in Washington are gravely concerned that Thailand inexplicably seems to rush to the defense of the SPDC at every single opportunity, deflating pressure even before it can be effectively applied.

Frankly, I expect—and the community of democracies should demand—the Thai Prime Minister to be more proactive in supporting Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, which I recall for my colleagues was overwhelmingly elected back in 1990 but never allowed to take power.

The comments of the Prime Minister of Thailand, as reported in the press, say the United States does not understand the issue well. That is ridiculous.

I would suggest that the Prime Minister may be the one who is confused as to how best to bring about democratic change in Burma. The Thai policy of engagement with Rangoon has been a predictable complete and total failure—a total failure.
Prime Minister Thaksin should understand that under a democratic Burmese Government, cross border trade would comprise of legitimate goods and services—and not those illicitly purchased or prostituted in back allies of Bangkok.
China, too, would benefit immeasurably from a government in Burma that is rooted in freedom and the rule of law. HIV/AIDS and the narcotics trade are akin to cancers in the Middle Kingdom's underbelly. Under the SPDC's misrule, these malignancies have grown out of control into Burma and affect the neighboring countries.

As Beijing already knows, there is no denying the socioeconomic impact of these security threats. It is time for China to treat the disease and not only the symptoms.

I note that next week China and the European Union will be meeting to discuss issues pertaining to Burma, Iraq, and North Korea. The United States must use its diplomatic prowess to influence China and the EU and move these parties toward engagement with the SPDC that results in the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Agreeing that Burma is a pariah state, but not acting accordingly, is simply not going to work.

So I commend Secretary Powell for tackling this issue with the ASEAN members during his recent visit to Thailand just a week or two ago. I encourage him and the entire State Department to continue to implement an aggressive and unrelenting full court press to secure freedom and justice for the people of Burma.

To be sure, ASEAN has a critical role to play in promoting freedom and justice in Burma. Now is not the time for Southeast Asian nations to bury their collective heads in the sand, or to make bizarre comments praising "positive developments" in Burma—where there have not been any positive developments—as ASEAN members did following the recent summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The unfortunate tendency of ASEAN members to ignore regional threats is precisely why the U.N. Security Council should consider discussing the threats to regional stability and peace posed by a repressive Burmese regime.

Let me close by saying that the only positive development would be if ASEAN members get with the program and implement sanctions against the SPDC. Who better to spur them into action than the United Nations?

So this amendment simply calls on the U.N. to do what it should have done a long time ago, which is to get involved in helping us bring about the needed regime change in Burma, to bring to power the duly elected government of the National League of Democracy headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Prize winner, who remains under house arrest, which is where she has been for most of the time for the last 15 years—15 years essentially under house arrest. It is time for the U.N. to get interested in this issue and to take action.

Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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