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Burma government follows ruling on

Subject: Burma government follows ruling on Massachusetts boycott law

Burma government follows ruling on Massachusetts boycott law
Associated Press, 11/06/98 08:39 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - The Burma military regime today was closely
watching a U.S. court decision striking down a Massachusetts law preventing
the state's government from dealing with companies doing business in the

A spokesman for the Burma government, which has been widely condemned in
the West for suppressing the pro-democracy movement led by Nobel Peace
Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, said the case was being followed ``with

Massachusetts adopted the law in 1996 to pressure the military to open a
dialogue with Suu Kyi and allow more democracy in Burma, also known as

For Burma's government, the law was seen as a potential danger to their
attempt to develop the country's economy while keeping a tight lid on
political dissent. The military has ruled Burma since 1962.

``We are following the court hearing with much interest because it seems
that this is one of the very few cases where states and cities can infringe
on the federal government's exclusive foreign affairs power,'' a government
spokesman said in a fax.

``We always believe that the truth will eventually prevail and hope those
states which have imposed sanctions due to incorrect information or
misinformation will come to realize the true situation in Burma and redeem
themselves before they commit an unrepairable harm to their own respective
states,'' the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston on Wednesday
could affect the purchasing laws of 44 states. Massachusetts expects to
decide by today whether to appeal the decision.

The lawsuit was brought by the National Foreign Trade Council, which
represents major U.S. corporations that it won't name for fear consumers
will boycott them.

The Burma government has been accused of drug trafficking, torture and
using slave labor.