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AP-Myanmar Lies Drug Allegations

Monday July 26 10:47 AM ET

Myanmar Denies Drug Allegations

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Myanmar's military regime said today that
cooperation with Thailand in fighting drugs could be jeopardized because of
a newspaper report alleging that its army was involved in narcotics

A report in Sunday's Bangkok Post quoted an unidentified senior Thai
narcotics official who accused Myanmar's military of involvement in the
trafficking of methamphetamine into Thailand, a problem the Thai government
considers worse than heroin.

A Myanmar government spokesman immediately denied the allegations when they
surfaced Sunday, and another denial was issued Monday by the country's
embassy in Bangkok.

The embassy statement noted that 801 members of Myanmar's armed forces were
killed and 2,429 wounded combating the drug trade in the past decade. Nearly
8,800 pounds of heroin, 66,000 pounds of opium and 13 million
methamphetamine tablets were seized and destroyed, it said.

The military ``continues today the noble total war against narcotic drugs,''
the statement said.

The statement invited the Bangkok Post and the Thai official to present hard
evidence and said that ``such unscrupulous accusations and reporting could
only jeopardize the spirit of goodwill and cooperation.''

The allegation, which the Post attributed to a high-ranking officer of the
National Narcotics Operation Center, was the harshest public criticism of
Myanmar by a Thai government official in recent memory.

The center, located in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, coordinates
anti-drug activities in the Golden Triangle where the borders of Laos,
Thailand and Myanmar converge.