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US: Burma Should Consider Opposition Views - 2004-05-16


U.S. officials say Burma should take into account the views of opposition groups, as the military government prepares for a constitutional convention despite a planned boycott by the main opposition party.

A statement from the U.S. State Department says national reconciliation and democracy in Burma depend on discussion between the government, ethnic minorities, and the National League for Democracy party, or NLD.

NLD officials said Friday they will not take part in next week's constitutional convention because their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, remains under house arrest. The party said the junta also has ignored other key conditions that would have allowed opposition members to take part in drafting a new national charter.

Military officials in Rangoon responded by announcing they will push ahead with the meeting in the interest of national unity. The generals who rule Burma have said a new constitution is the first step in their so-called "road map to democracy" for the country.

However, without participation by the NLD and other opposition groups that also intend to boycott the convention meeting, analysts say the drafting process will lose its credibility.

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