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US Demands Action in Burma - 2003-12-16


The United States has called on Burma to follow up on its pledge to allow the opposition to take part in drafting a new constitution. A State Department spokesman Monday reacted skeptically to the Burmese pledge, noting that Rangoon has made similar promises in the past.

Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung made the pledge at a meeting of representatives from 12 Asian and European countries in Bangkok. Thailand quoted the Burmese official as saying a new constitution will be drafted next year as part of a so-called road map to free elections.

The Burmese military government lost free elections to the opposition in 1990, but it refused to give up power. A few years later, the military held a constitutional convention, but it ended in failure when the opposition refused to participate.

Political progress in Burma has been at a stand-still since a violent confrontation between pro-democracy demonstrators and government supporters last May. Since that confrontation, many of the nation's top opposition leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have been in detention.

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

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