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Burma Says U.S. Sanctions "Weapon o
- Subject: Burma Says U.S. Sanctions "Weapon o
- From: waterly@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 19:10:00
Subject: Burma Says U.S. Sanctions "Weapon of Destruction"
Reuters World Service
April 16, 1997, Wednesday, BC cycle
HEADLINE: Burma says U.S. sanctions "weapon of destruction"
DATELINE: BANGKOK, April 16
The United States is using the threat of economic sanctions against Burma
like a weapon aimed at destroying basic rights of the Burmese people, a
government spokesman said on Wednesday.
"The U.S. economic sanctions is a policy which is being extensively used
today as a weapon of destruction against a nation or a population regarded as
unfriendly," the spokesman said in a faxed response to questions by Reuters.
He had been asked about remarks made on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, who criticised Burma's military government for failing
to respond to appeals to improve human rights.
"Burmese leaders are on notice that, unless the clouds of repression are
lifted, they will face investment sanctions under U.S. law," Albright said in a
speech to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
U.S. President Bill Clinton can impose sanctions on Burma if democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi is rearrested or the situation in Burma worsens. Suu
Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, was under house arrest for six years for her
criticism of the Rangoon government.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called Albright's remarks a
stiffening of the U.S. position.
"It puts squarely before the Burmese dictators the proposition that without
an improvement in the human rights situation, there is going to be action by the
United States," he said on Tuesday.
The Burmese spokesman told Reuters that his government was more concerned
about the situation in Burma than was the United States or any other foreign
"If the U.S. is so genuinely concerned about the human rights of the
Myanmar (Burmese) people, why is it so necessary to deprive one of the most
essential rights of the Myanmar people -- the right to earn a living and
support the family?" he asked.
"Does U.S. human rights mean priority of one favoured person or a party is
above everything else? And does the U.S. really believe that installing an
overnight Western democracy is the cure for all developing, unstable and
problem-ridden countries of the world," he asked.
The U.S. and many other Western countries have criticised Burma for human
rights abuses and for failing to recognise the democratically elected government
of the National League for Democracy, which was co-founded by Suu Kyi.