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Burma, 11 Other Countries In Thailand For Democracy Forum - 2003-12-15


Delegates from Burma and 11 other countries have gathered in Thailand to discuss Rangoon's so-called "road map" to democracy.

Thai officials hosting the international conference say they do not expect great progress. They say this is just the first in a series of planned meetings on the subject.

After initial hesitance, Burma's military rulers agreed to send a representative to the one-day forum in Bangkok. Thailand's government assured the Burmese that the purpose of the meeting is not to criticize, but to allow them to explain their plans for reform.

The Thai government has said it hopes the forum will be the start of a process in which Burma implements the seven-point road map.

Burma's Prime Minister Khin Nyunt announced the plan in August, but gave no timetable for its implementation. Political progress in Burma has been at a stand-still since a bloody confrontation between pro-democracy demonstrators and government supporters last May.

Since that confrontation, many of the nation's top opposition leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, have been in detention or under house arrest.

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