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Burma's Military Junta Criticizes US Trade Sanctions - 2003-10-29


Burma's military government has criticized U.S. economic sanctions against Rangoon, saying they are hampering Burma's efforts to fight illegal drugs.

A Burmese government statement issued today (Wednesday) said the sanctions undermine Burma's economy, taking away the resources needed to fight drug production.

The comments come two days after a U.S. State Department report called Burma's human rights record "abysmal." The report said until there is significant progress toward political transition in Burma, Washington will maintain its sanctions on Burma's military rulers.

The United States imposed sanctions on Burma in 1997 to pressure the country's military government to enact democratic reforms. Washington recently imposed tough new sanctions against Rangoon following its detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand says Washington has no plans to use military force to make Burma change its political ways. Daryl Johnson told reporters in Bangkok that Washington hopes Burma's military government will use political dialogue to bring about democratic change.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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