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European Union to increase humanita

European Union to increase humanitarian aid to Myanmar

AP, Bangkok, 21 July 2000   The European Union will give military-ruled 
Myanmar more humanitarian
aid sometime down the road, the French ambassador to Thailand said Friday.

French Ambassador Christian Prettre said the EU is considering including 
Myanmar, now under
sanctions, in an agreement with Laos and Cambodia that provides assistance, 
especially technical and
humanitarian aid.

Such inclusion would provide a framework for increased aid, but Prettre did 
not say when it might
come, or if it depended on changes in the repressive state also known as 

A ''troika'' of EU representatives will make a second visit to Myanmar to 
hold talks on issues of
concern, he said. A date is not set.

The EU limits relations with Myanmar's government to protest its poor human 
rights record and failure
to hand over power to a democratically elected government.

EU foreign ministers toughened sanctions on Myanmar in April, saying the 
government has intensified
repression of civil and political rights.

In 1998, the EU banned visits by Myanmar officials, withdrew trade 
privileges and imposed an arms
embargo. To that was added a ban on equipment ''that might be used for 
repression'' and a freeze on
funds held abroad by members of the regime.

The United States maintains similar policies.

At ministerial-level meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 
in Bangkok next week, the
EU will sit down with Myanmar representatives, something it has refused to 
do at forums it hosts.