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Burma exiles hail US sanctions agai

Subject: Burma exiles hail US sanctions against Rangoon

Subject: Burma exiles hail U.S. sanctions against Rangoon

    By Deborah Charles
    BANGKOK, April 22 (Reuter) - Exiled Burmese dissidents on
Tuesday applauded a United States decision to impose economic
sanctions on Burma, but there was no official comment from the
military government in Rangoon.
    "Oh great, this is good news. We are very happy," said Aung
Naing Oo, foreign affairs secretary for the students group, the
All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF).
    The ABSDF and other exile groups in Thailand and elsewhere
have urged the United States and other governments to stop
investing in Burma because of human rights abuses there.
    Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) has been accused by human rights organisations, the
United Nations and many Western governments of human rights
abuses like summary executions, using forced labour and
employing repressive tactics against the opposition.
    "Since the SLORC came into power through a bloody military
coup in 1988, they have enjoyed assistance from the business
community, which has enabled them to consolidate power and
accelerate their campaign of terror against the people of
Burma," Aung Naing Oo told Reuters.
    The SLORC has also been condemned for failing to recognise
the democratically elected government of the National League for
Democracy (NLD) party co-founded by Nobel Peace laureate Aung
San Suu Kyi.
    The U.S. State Department was due to announce economic
sanctions on Burma later on Tuesday, an administration official
said in Washington.
    The sanctions will ban new U.S. investment in Burma. Several
American companies have pulled out of Burma over the past few
years due to pressure by human rights organisations.
    Major companies still doing business there include oil
companies Unocal and Atlantic Richfield Co.
    Attempts to reach Burmese government officials were
unsuccessful on Tuesday.
    Last week a Burmese government official told Reuters that
U.S. sanctions were like a weapon aimed at destroying the human
rights of the Burmese people.
    "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
    Suu Kyi, who served six years of house arrest for her
outspoken attacks on the military government, could not be
reached for comment. Her telephone line appeared to have been
    In the past she has urged investors to stay away from Burma
and has said she supported the idea of U.S. sanctions.
    The United States is the fourth-largest investor in Burma in
terms of approved foreign investment.
    Diplomats said the sanctions would likely cause investors
from the United States and other countries to be more cautious
in coming to Burma.
    "They'll have to think a lot harder. Some companies may
decide not to come in. It adds political risk," one diplomat
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