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ASEAN Official: Western Sanctions on Burma Ineffective


The top official in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations says Western sanctions intended to bring democratic reform to military-ruled Burma are ineffective.

ASEAN Secretary-General says countries should find new ways to encourage Burma to change.

He says efforts to economically isolate Burma will not work, because the country's two biggest neighbors will continue to support it. Both China and India have been criticized by ASEAN members and Western nations for keeping silent about Burma's rights abuses while investing in the country.

Ong was speaking today on the sidelines of the Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Burma's current military government seized power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy movement.

It held an election in 1990 but refused to hand over power after the National League for Democracy party won the vote. The opposition party's secretary-general, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been under house arrest for 11 of the past 17 years.

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