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AFP/BURMANET: Oil companies, Admini

Subject: AFP/BURMANET: Oil companies, Adminis

/* Written 10:19 AM  Jul 24, 1996 by strider in igc:soc.cult.burma */
/* ---------- "AFP/BURMANET: Oil companies, Admini" ---------- */

BurmaNet Readers,

 If you support the sanctions bill, act now by contacting your senators 
and representatives.  The Clinton Administration is working with the 
oil companies to gut the McConnell bill and they may well succeed if 
there isn't enough grass roots pressure on the legislators.  The 
Administration talks tough and makes much of its veto of IMF/World Bank 
support, but the talk is mostly empty.  Burma's economy is such a wreck 
that no IMF program will be going there for awhile regardless of what 
the Administration does.  Sanctions, unilateral or multi-lateral, will 
empower the National League for Democracy in its standoff with SLORC.  
They may not bring down the regime, but they help Suu Kyi.  That is 
enough to justify them.


                     Copyright 1996 Agence France Presse
                              Agence France Presse

                            July 24, 1996  24:01 GMT

SECTION: Domestic, non-Washington, general news item

LENGTH: 854 words

HEADLINE: New effort would void tough US sanctions on Burma

BYLINE: Sarah Jackson-Han


   Administration officials and Senate staff were working on a
compromise Tuesday that would derail tough new sanctions on Burma while
still pressing for change in the military-ruled country. 

   Draft legislation under discussion much of the day would nullify a
measure backed by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky that
aims to ban any US aid or private investment in the Southeast Asian

   But while the administration opposes unilateral sanctions, it also
wants to send a more resolute message to Burmese military leaders who
seized power in 1988 and have kept a stranglehold on the country ever

   Senators were expected to debate competing bills on the Southeast
Asian country as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday. 

   McConnell's sanctions bill picked up support last month, fuelled by a
renewed crackdown on Burmese pro-democracy activists and a grassroots
campaign here aimed at toppling the junta. 

   Both the Clinton administration and American oil companies have
lobbied hard against the McConnell sanctions. 

   Oil firms account for the largest share of the roughly 225 million
dollars that some 25 American firms have invested directly in Burma,
according to the nonprofit Investor Responsibility Research Center. 

   Backing them up are Republican Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma and
Democratic Senator J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, both of whom
represent major oil-producing states. 

   In a "dear colleague" letter dated July 19 and seen Tuesday, Nickles
and Johnston cite "unanimous agreement that the regime currently in
power in Burma is brutal, illegitimate, and deplorable in almost every

   Echoing the White House, the two senators argue nonetheless that US
sanctions would be ineffective without support from other countries
investing in Burma, which has so far not been forthcoming. 

   Compromise language proposed by Johnston and Nickles, and
co-sponsored by five senators by late Tuesday, would maintain a ban on
International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans to Burma. 

   It would, however, allow counter-narcotics assistance from the United
States -- 60 percent of whose heroin imports originate in Burma -- and
aid that promotes democracy and human rights. 

   A draft version of the compromise bill also would allow private US
investment in Burma wherever foreign competitors could reasonably be
expected to move in and pick up contracts left by vacating American




   The essence of the alternative legislation, according to Johnston's
spokeswoman Audra McCardle, is that "we have to be engaged where we can
be engaged." 

   Forcing US companies to pull out of Burma will accomplish nothing if
foreign companies move in to take up contracts Americans leave behind,
she said. 

   That argument resonates among US officials, who have consistently
fought unilateral sanctions against Rangoon. 

   But Washington has also turned up pressure recently on Burma's
Southeast Asian neighbors, urging them to use their influence to help
bring about change in the reclusive nation of 46 million people. 

   Those countries have long shied away from any direct interference in
Burma's internal affairs, though they have signalled greater concern
recently about the junta's propensity to detain its critics. 

   The United States and its allies are meanwhile warning the junta
against rearresting pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed
a year ago from six years under house arrest and remains an outspoken
advocate of sanctions against her country. 

   There is little doubt, officials say, that detention of the Nobel
Peace Prize-winner would draw additional sanctions from Burma's most
frequent critics: the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. 





LOAD-DATE: July 23, 1996