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Burma's Military Broadens Criticism of Detained Opposition Leader - 2003-07-08


Burma's military government has broadened its condemnation of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accusing her political party of breaking the law by drafting a national constitution.

An article in the official newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, Tuesday says leaders of the National League for Democracy party have approved a new constitution. The article appears to be written by a disgruntled member of the party (Maung Yin Hmaing) who says its leaders have shown they are not genuinely concerned about Burma's future.

This is the latest in a series of reports in the state-controlled press critical of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since May 30th. Her arrest followed a clash between pro-democracy activists and government demonstrators in northern Burma, where she was meeting with supporters.

The military government has sent emissaries out to neighboring countries, in an effort to counter growing criticism of its treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi. Foreign Minister Win Aung arrived Tuesday in Pakistan -- the third leg of a planned four-nation visit. He already has been to China and Bangladesh.

On Monday, the European Union broadened an arms embargo against Burma, accusing it of serious human rights violations. The measure includes any arms-related training and assistance in its general arms embargo.

The European Union imposed the new sanctions in line with an agreement reached at the E.U. summit last month in Greece. E.U. officials said they acted in response to what they called a deteriorating political situation in Burma, particularly the continued detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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