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Burmese Foreign Minister Questions Sanctions - 2003-07-25


Burma's foreign minister is calling on the international community not to push the country into isolation by imposing or threatening sanctions.

In an article published in Singapore's "Straits Times" newspaper (today/ Friday), Win Aung says sanctions do more harm than good. He says because of sanctions, international financial institutionshave denied Burma what he called "all forms of development assistance."

Mr. Win's comments come after a high-level Asian-European meeting ended two days of talks in Indonesia (Thursday) with a joint statement calling on Burma's military government to release jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The statement also urges Burma's rulers to resume reconciliation efforts.

The Burmese military arrested the head of the National League for Democracy in late May following a clash between her supporters and pro-government demonstrators.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he was willing to mediate in talks to help secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. He said he is willing to take on such a task for the sake of democracy in Southeast Asia.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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