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 Burma confident of investments despite politics
    By Deborah Charles
    RANGOON, Dec 1 (Reuter) - Burma's economy is growing and the
country's leaders are confident foreign businessmen will flock
to invest despite political and human rights problems, a senior
Burmese economic minister said.
    Brigadier-General David Abel, minister for national planning
and economic development, told Reuters in an interview that
investors were coming to Burma because they see an opportunity
to make money.
    They were not hampered by political concerns, he added.
    "Money motivates men, big businessmen. Their motivation is
to make money," he said on Thursday. "If they can make money,
why not? They are not worried about what politicians say."
    Abel dismissed calls by National League for Democracy (NLD)
leader Aung San Suu Kyi for foreign investors and international
organisations to be cautious about investing in Burma because of
its dismal human rights record and undemocratic military-run
    "That's a joke," Abel said, referring to Suu Kyi's remarks.
"It doesn't worry me at all. The situation is good, they can
make a sound investment. They can make money."

 Burma says on verge of loans pact with IMF
    RANGOON, Dec 1 (Reuter) - Burma has had very positive
discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
should reach an agreement on future loans soon, a senior
economics minister said.
    "We are almost on the verge of getting to an agreement now,"
Brigadier-General David Abel, Minister of National Planning and
Economic Development, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
    He described consultations in August as "very good" and
added: "They see things now much more clearly. Because of the
very sound and positive technical report they have made, I think
it is a  strong indicator they will come back."
    The IMF, other international lending institutions and most
countries stopped aid to Burma in 1988 following the brutal
suppression of pro-democracy uprisings.
    The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the
military junta which seized power after the uprisings, never
recognised the result of a 1990 election which a pro-democracy
party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won by a
    But the SLORC has released Nobel Peace laureate and NLD
leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest -- a factor which many
have said might influence the resumption of aid.

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                 |     Shimojima Ichiroo      |