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Congressional trip criticized (fwd)
Subject: Congressional trip criticized
DALLAS, March 14 (UPI) -- A spokesman for Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is
defending his trip to Burma last year along with three other lawmakers
after groups critical of Burma's military dictatorship questioned the
The Dallas Morning News Friday quotes DeLay spokesman John Feehery
describing the visit as educational and useful. ``It was a good trip for
Tom. He learned a lot about how to deal with China on trade issues and
human rights issues as well.''
The December trip came as President Clinton weighed economic
sanctions against Burma on human rights grounds. Burma's anti-drug
efforts have also been criticized.
Larry Dohrs, of the Free Burma Coalition, says the United States has
to ask whether cooperating with Burma's generals serves U.S. interests.
DeLay, who is House majority whip, traveled to the Southeast Asian
nation with three other members of Congress: Bill Paxton, R-N.Y.,
Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, and Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
Dohrs says the DeLay group did not speak to pro-democracy groups in
Burma who oppose the dictatorship, and one month later Burmese officials
refused to allow a visit by other U.S. lawmakers who wanted to discuss
The trip by DeLay and the other lawmakers was funded by the Asia-
Pacific Exchange Foundation, a non-profit group to which Burma's biggest
U.S. investor Unocal, of California, contributes.
Following the December trip, Burma in January denied visas to a
seven-member official delegation led by Rep. John Edward Porter, R-Ill.,
which wanted to raise human rights questions.