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Burma Rejects US Democracy Criticism - 2003-12-17


Burma has rejected U.S. skepticism of its pledge to move toward democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

A government statement in Rangoon today (Wednesday) said the United States is learning in Iraq and Afghanistan that making the transition to democracy is not easy.

It urged Washington to work with other countries to help Burma achieve its goal.

On Monday, a U.S. State Department spokesman reacted skeptically to the latest Burmese promise to hold a constitutional convention next year and to allow the opposition to participate. The spokesman noted that Rangoon has made similar promises in the past.

Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung made the promise at a meeting of delegates from 12 Asian and European countries in Bangkok Monday. His government today (Wednesday) said U.S. criticism does nothing to help achieve the political reforms.

The Burmese military government lost free elections to the opposition in 1990, but it refused to give up power.

Political progress in Burma has been at a stand-still for months.

Information for this report is provided by Ap and AFP.

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