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Burma renews ASEAN bid, faces U.N.

Subject: Burma renews ASEAN bid, faces U.N. rebuke.

		Burma renews ASEAN bid, faces U.N. rebuke 

                     November 28, 1996
                     Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EST (2200

                     BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) --
                     Burma Thursday renewed its bid to
                     become part of the powerful
                     ASEAN regional group while the
                     official media took up cudgels on
                     the military government's behalf, even dubbing the 
		     United States a
                     "trouble maker" for criticizing Rangoon's regime. 

                     The media's attack was in reference to a Bangkok 
		     speech by U.S.
                     President Bill Clinton (187k/16 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
                     singling out Burma for failing to recognize a 
		     democratically elected
                     government. A commentary in Burma's three state-run 
 		     papers said
                     the move was an "evil and dirty plot." 

                     "It is an evil and dirty plot of Ngapwagyi (trouble 
		     maker), hitting
                     the vulnerable spot to hinder Myanmar's wish to 
		     enter ASEAN
                     and to make ASEAN nations become disunited. 
		     Ngapwagyi is
                     implementing this scheme with all-out efforts." 

                     The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which 
                     Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, 
		     Singapore, Thailand
                     and Vietnam, has been under pressure from Western 
		     nations and
                     human rights activists to delay admitting Rangoon to 
		     the group
                     because of the crackdown. 

                     While Cambodia and Laos are on track to become 
                     members of ASEAN next year, Burma's efforts have 
		     been marred
                     by its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement led 
		     by Nobel
                     peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. 

                     Burma has detained and released nearly 1,000 
		     supporters of Suu
                     Kyi in various crackdowns on the democracy movement 

                     In New York a key U.N. panel Wednesday rebuked Burma for
                     suppressing opposition, using forced labor to build 
		     its economy,
                     torturing prisoners, abusing women and conducting 

                     In a resolution passed by consensus, the General 
                     social, humanitarian and cultural committee said the 
                     should protect and allow free access to Suu Kyi. 

                     Still, there are willing mediators. The
                     incoming Prime Minister of Thailand,
                     Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, says he is
                     close to the Burmese leadership and
                     will soon travel to Rangoon to
                     deliver a message. 

                     Chavalit says as Thailand's army
                     chief, he went to Burma in 1989 and
                     convinced them to hold elections a year later. But 
		     the results were
                     never honored by the military. 

                     Suu Kyi's NLD party won nearly 80 percent of the 
		     votes but was
                     not allowed to form a government. 

                     Burma's minister of planning, David
                     Abel, said statements about human
                     rights abuses are rash. "We have
                     promised the people a democratic
                     government ... we have the national
                     convention which is working towards
                                          that goal," he said. 

                     But Suu Kyi's party, NLD, pulled out of that 
		     national convention
                     because they feared the new constitution would be 
		     written to
                     ensure continued rule by the military. The military 
		     in response
                     ordered that the convention process continue without 

                     The next voice to be heard on the situation in Burma 
		     will come on
                     Saturday, when ASEAN holds its one-day, informal 
		     meeting in
                     Jakarta, Indonesia. 

		     [CNN, 28 November 1996].