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Burma Insists on Committed to Democracy - 2003-06-12


Burma's military government says it is committed to democracy and a market economy, but made no reference to its detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

A government statement issued today (Thursday) also said Rangoon is committed to work with all political forces in the country in order to achieve national reconciliation.

The remarks came one day after the U.S. Senate approved legislation banning all imports from Burma, in response to the latest crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement.

The bill, passed by a vote of 97-1 Wednesday, would also freeze Burma's assets in U.S. banks and require the Bush administration to oppose international loans to the country.

A ban on new U.S. investments in Burma has been in force since 1996.

The new sanctions are expected to pass the House International Relations Committee today (Thursday). The Committee will then send the bill to the entire House (of Representatives) for its likely approval.

Burma has been facing growing international criticism after it detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She was taken into custody following violent clashes between supporters of the military government and pro-democracy activists two weeks ago in northern Burma.

President Bush has called for her immediate release.

United Nations envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, met with Aung San Suu Kyi Tuesday in Rangoon. He said she is in good health and that Burmese authorities have promised to release her within two weeks.

The Bush administration has also expanded a travel ban to the United States to cover members of a pro-government Burmese group believed to have been behind the violence two weeks ago.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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