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EU Criticizes But Burma Asks For Patience - 2003-01-29


Representing Burma for the first time, Burma's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win, at the EU-ASEAN meeting in Brussels Tuesday, said the issues in Burma are sensitive. He called the EU to stop criticizing Burma and allow more time to bring about a democratic change.

ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong also called the meeting "positive" because, he said, the exchange of views was made in a constructive way. The EU temporarily lifts its visa ban on Burmese officials to attend the meeting.

U Zaw Oo, an economist at the Burma Fund, told VOA Burmese Service that Burma cannot expect to gain any immediate economic benefits from the meeting as it has yet to fulfil its obligations to eliminate trade barriers within the ASEAN.

However, he pointed out that the attendance gave Burma a chance to enter into bilateral economic ties with the EU countries. He also suggested that Burma should consider cooperation with EU on humanitarian projects before seeking economic ties.

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