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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 
human rights. 
	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.