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Burma junta chief planning to quit:

Subject:       Burma junta chief planning to quit: Thaai PM

Burma junta chief planning to quit:
Thai PM
"Choosing a successor is difficult"
Bangkok, April 19: A Thai newspaper on Saturday quoted
the country's Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as
saying his Burmese counterpart General Than Shwe is
considering giving up his top position. Mr Chavalit
said he believed Than Shwe did not want to stay on in
the position and was thinking of retiring, according to
the report in the English-language newspaper The
Nation. Than Shwe, chairman of Burma's ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council, is known to have close
ties with Slorc leaders. But Mr Chavalit was quoted as
saying that Than Shwe could not yet quit due to
problems with a reshuffle in the lower-level of the
Burmese Military hierarchy. "He (Than Shwe) is thinking
of retiring, but there are some hitches at the lower-
level which require the further rearrangement of
officials," Mr Chavalit said. "General Than Shwe does
not want to stay on in his position which is somewhat
like the case of General Saw Maung, These people are
not bad people," he said on Friday during a visit to
Kanchanaburi near Thailand's western border with Burma.
General Saw Maung headed the Slorc when it took power
after curbing pro-democracy street protests in 1988 in
which thousands were killed or imprisoned. But he quit
as Slorc's top general in 1992. In late 1988, Mr
Chavalit visited Burma to meet the top generals despite
the internationally-imposed isolation of the country
when the military seized power. (Reuter)

Junta ridicules European sanctions
Rangoon, April 19: Burmese governmentrun media ran a
commentary on Saturday that ridiculed the European
Union's decision in March to cancel the country's
generalised system of preferences. On March 14, the EU
commission unanimously voted to cancel Burma's GSP
privileges, adversely affecting about 47 million
dollars worth of Burmese exports to Europe to penalise
the Military junta for alleged use of forced labour and
forced child labour."The way they are playing a foul
game conspiring with their union's group to get
advantage of us is funny," said a commentary on the GSP
cancellation that appeared in all Burmese dailies on
Saturday. The commentary, believed to reflect the
opinion of Burma's military junta, ran under the
headline "Laughing out loud because it ain't scary but
sure is funny," penned by Ye Win. It noted, "there are
countries which committed massacres of hundreds of
thousands of innocent  people which is more cruel than
forcing people to work. Yet we have never heard the
human rights associations speak ill about those
countries." Observers familiar with the State Law and
Order Restoration Council, the military junta that has
ruled Burma since September 1988, said the passage may
have been a reference to the US Military involvement in
the Vietnam war more than two decades ago. The article
denied that about 100,000 Burmese were subject to
forced labour in Burma and that forced child labour was
common in the country. (DPA)