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Rice Praises Indonesia for Pressuring Burma on Human Rights


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has praised Indonesia for trying to pressure Burma's military leaders to respect human rights. Rice discussed the situation in Burma with her Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirajuda Tuesday in Jakarta.

She says the United States "cannot turn a blind eye" to the oppression of the Burmese people. Earlier, Rice began her two-day trip to Indonesia by visiting an Islamic school in the capital, where she met with schoolgirls who greeted her by waving Indonesian and U.S. flags.

Rice is to meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono later today for talks expected to focus on boosting cooperation in the fight against terrorism. She will deliver a speech on democracy Wednesday before flying to Australia.

As she flew to Jakarta, Rice defended the Bush administration's decision to restore military relations with Indonesia in November last year. Human rights groups say Indonesia has not done enough to tackle alleged abuses by its security forces.

But Rice says the best way to encourage military reform is to engage Indonesia's military leaders. Rice will meet with Australian leaders later this week in Sydney and Melbourne.

She will also join with her counterparts from Canberra and Tokyo in a session of the U.S.-Australia-Japan Trilateral Strategic Dialogue.

Information for this story is provided by AP, AFP and REUTERS.

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