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US tries to block Burma's entry int
- Subject: US tries to block Burma's entry int
- From: ausgeo@xxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 27 Apr 1997 00:00:00
Subject: US tries to block Burma's entry into ASEAN
US-Burma-ASEAN : US tries to block Burma's entry into ASEAN
WASHINGTON, April 25 (AFP) - The United States is trying to persuade
member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to turn
down a bid by Burma to join the organisation, the State Department said
"We don't believe that ASEAN should take this step," spokesman Nicholas Burns
"Burma's human rights performance is so woeful, so irresponsible that surely
it should not be treated as a normal country, it should not be rewarded by
membership in one of the most prestigious and important pan-Asian
organisations," he added.
The United States on Tuesday announced a ban on investment by US businesses in
Burma, citing the military regime's authoritarian tactics, in particular its
attempt to silence Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
But it also indicated it was willing to press countries in the region to also
toughen their approach to the military regime in Rangoon.
"We are trying to use our influence to make the point that Burma should be
given a stiff message that it is not welcome," Burns said of the ASEAN
proposal to admit Burma, along with Laos and Cambodia.
ASEAN comprises Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Vietnam.
Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad, whose country currently chairs the
association, said Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur that the US decision would not
affect the drive for Burma's membership in the group.
"We are going to work very hard to get Myanmar (Burma's official name) into
ASEAN," Bernama news agency quoted Mahathir as saying.
ASEAN foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur on May 31 to
discuss when to admit the three countries into the regional grouping.
They are likely to be admitted this year, either during the ASEAN ministerial
meeting in July or the informal ASEAN summit in December.