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OPPOSITION PRAISES BURMA SANCTIONS
- Subject: OPPOSITION PRAISES BURMA SANCTIONS
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 20:30:00
Opposition Praises Burma
By GRANT PECK
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, April 22, 1997 4:03 pm EDT
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Opponents of Burma's military
regime praised the Clinton administration Tuesday
for banning new
U.S. investment in Burma, saying Washington had
promise to take action against a junta accused of
But Unocal Corp., which has a $1.2 billion
partnership deal with
Total of France to develop offshore natural gas
Stakes in the oil and gas sector make the United
States one of
Burma's biggest investors.
Unocal chairman Roger Beach said the sanctions
would cost the
United States jobs without ensuring an improvement
In an interview in Bangkok with the Dow Jones News
Beach called the decision a ``temporary setback''
business plans in Burma but said ``it won't change
our strategy one
If Clinton's move ``bars only new American
government will just laugh,'' said a Burmese
in a joint-venture factory who spoke on condition
he not be
named. ``As long as Unocal and Texaco are in town,
government) will not be bothered.''
Tin Oo, vice-chairman of the opposition National
Democracy, said in a telephone interview from
Burmese capital, that the U.S. move ``is one we
have very much
longingly hoped would happen.''
The leader of the league, 1991 Nobel Peace-laureate
Suu Kyi, renewed her call for sanctions two months
worsening repression since student unrest in
resulted in more than 100 arrests.
In Bangkok, a Burmese exile opposition group, the
Students' Democratic Front, called the sanctions
``a major step''
toward forcing Burma's junta to acknowledge Mrs.
party as the democratically elected government.
The National League for Democracy won a landslide
victory in a
1990 election but the military refused to let
parliament be seated.
Many of the lawmakers have since been forced into
imprisoned, and the party operates under tight
Burmese government reaction was not available
authorized to comment publicly were traveling.
Like the Unocal chairman, other U.S. executives had
criticism at a meeting in Singapore, saying only
free trade with
Burma will induce its military rulers to allow
human rights and
``Constructive engagement is much more important
for the United
States. We shouldn't lose what little influence we
have by pulling
out,'' Lloyd Bentsen, former secretary of the
treasury, said last
U.S. businessmen ``tenaciously and passionately
believe in human
rights, workers' rights and democracy ... but we
don't believe in
unilateral sanctions,'' added George David,
chairman of United
Since the military government opened Burma to
in 1988, foreign firms have announced plans for
nearly $4 billion
worth of projects, although less than one-third of
that has actually
come in to date.
A number of U.S. companies like PepsiCo and, more
Eastman Kodak have halted operations in Burma,
response to a boycott campaign by pro-democracy
around the world. The ``Free Burma Campaign'' is
active at U.S. colleges.
U.S. apparel-makers Eddie Bauer, Columbia
and Osh Kosh B'Gosh halted Burma operations after
American consumer boycotts.
The United States, however, is almost alone in its
European countries have mixed views about sanctions
Asian countries adamantly oppose them.