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U.S. Calls on Burmese Government to Engage Opposition


The U.S. State Department has called on the Burmese military government to reach out to its pro-democracy opposition, the National League for Democracy, after the junta threatened to dissolve the party.

A State Department spokesman said Thursday that it is imperative for the Burmese military government to engage democratic opposition groups in meaningful political dialogue.

He said the first positive step would be for the government to release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and free the many other political prisoners in detention.

Burmese Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said a day earlier that the government has no plans for dialogue with the opposition. He said the regime has enough evidence to declare the opposition an unlawful association for its links to what he called "terrorist groups and exiled dissident organizations."

The NLD last week said it would recognize the military government if it convenes parliament by May 27th. That date marks the anniversary of Burma's 1990 elections, in which the NLD won a majority of seats in parliament but was not allowed to take power.

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