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US State Officials Pressure Oil Giant UNOCAL To Pull Out Of Burma - 2003-09-03


The chief financial officers of the U.S. states of California and New York have urged oil giant Unocal Corporation to pull its operations out of Burma or assure shareholders that the company complies with human rights protections.

In a meeting at the company's El Segundo, California headquarters Tuesday, California State Treasurer Phil Anglelides and New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi told executives they had not justified the corporation's ties with Burma's military government.

They told executives that Unocal should also demonstrate that workers' rights were being respected in line with its code of conduct.

Unocal, which faces lawsuits over alleged forced labor and other human rights abuses linked to the construction of a controversial gas pipeline, said pulling out of the project would not serve either investors or those looking to improve conditions in Burma.

The company has been dogged for years by human rights organizations that charge Burma's military used forced labor to construct the pipeline.

The company is exempt from a U.S. ban on new investments in Burma because it was involved prior to the 1997 sanctions.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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