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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
EU urges progress in Burma
Aung San Suu Kyi
Talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta are stalled
The European Union has urged Burma to speed up political progress, saying the EU will respond positively to any development.

The statement followed a three-day visit by an EU delegation to Rangoon, which ended on Tuesday.

The mission was designed to encourage political dialogue between the ruling junta and the opposition, and to push for the release of political prisoners

The delegation met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but failed to meet any of the military leaders. Their scheduled meeting with the regime's number three, Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, was cancelled.

Sanctions

"The EU stands ready to respond positively and proportionately to substantive improvements in the political climate of the country," the bloc's statement said.

The junta has not held substantive talks with Aung San Suu Kyi since she was released from house arrest in May.


Aung San Suu Kyi

  • 1988: Aung San Suu Kyi supports pro-democracy uprising
  • 1989: Placed under house arrest
  • 1990: NLD wins election by landslide. Military rejects result
  • 1995: Freed from house arrest
  • 2000: Placed under house arrest
  • 2002: Released unconditionally


  • The EU maintains stringent restrictions on Burma as a result of the political impasse.

    It gives humanitarian assistance to the impoverished country but imposes a number of sanctions, including a ban on all other bilateral aid, an arms embargo, and a visa ban on senior Burmese officials.

    Aung San Suu Kyi told the visiting diplomats that she was "neutral" on the economic sanctions. Her party spokesman, U Lwin, said the Nobel Laureate believed it was up to outside administrations to formulate their own policy.

    In the past Aung San Suu Kyi was viewed as a key supporter of the sanctions.

    When asked if the delegation had made any significant progress, the spokesman said: "The EU has only been meeting with salesmen and not with the manager."

    "So far, the meetings have been with low-level people. How can you consider this to be significant?"

    The diplomats met Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win, international non-governmental organisations and representatives of ethnic minority parties in Burma.

    Burmese officials said the meeting with Khin Nyunt was called off because he was out of town and his return was delayed by heavy rain.

    Last time the EU visited Rangoon, the general said he was too busy to meet them.


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    10 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
    15 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
    08 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
    22 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
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