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US Criticizes Burma's Constitutional Convention


The U.S. State Department has criticized Burma's upcoming constitutional convention, saying exclusion of pro-democracy groups will keep it from reflecting the true political aspirations of the people.

A statement released Tuesday said without participation from the National League for Democracy and other opposition groups, the National Convention cannot conduct the meaningful dialogue needed to achieve genuine national reconciliation.

The convention gets underway Thursday, but the N.L.D. and at least one organization representing the Shan ethnic group have vowed to boycott the event to protest the detention of several of their leaders.

Meanwhile, Australia's Labor Party members called on their government Tuesday to tighten sanctions on Burma for its human rights abuses.

A Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, has called Burma's government one of the most corrupt, incompetent, and oppressive in the world.

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