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ျပည္သူေတြဆီမွာ လြတ္လပ္မႈနဲ႔ တန္းတူညီမွ်မႈ အရင္ဆံုး ရွိေနမွ ဒီမိုိကေရစီ စံႏႈန္းရွိတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

US envoy looks at Myanmar trip: officials

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US envoy looks at Myanmar trip: officials

(AFP) –

WASHINGTON — A senior US diplomat is considering a visit to Myanmar this month, officials said Tuesday, as Western concerns mount over the military regime’s plans for upcoming elections.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, is planning to return to Asia for a regional meeting next week in the Philippines along with other stops, US officials said on condition of anonymity.

A trip to Myanmar is being “contemplated” but has not yet been set, one official said, with the State Department in talks with the junta to arrange a visit.

Campbell traveled to Myanmar last year as he launched a new policy of US engagement with the country, also known as Burma.

President Barack Obama’s administration has made dialogue with adversaries a signature policy and launched dialogue with Myanmar after concluding that longstanding Western attempts to isolate the regime had borne little fruit.

But the United States has voiced concern about Myanmar’s plans to hold its first elections in two decades later this year, which the opposition is boycotting as it fears they will be a sham by the junta to gain legitimacy.

The opposition National League for Democracy swept the last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take over. The junta has kept the party’s leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for more than 14 years.

Former political prisoner Aung Din, who heads the US Campaign for Burma advocacy group, voiced concern that a trip by Campbell could embolden the regime’s leader, Senior General Than Shwe.

“Kurt Campbell is coming empty-handed. I want him to go back to Burma with more and more pressure,” Aung Din said.

“Otherwise this will make Than Shwe happy. He rejected all of the US demands and yet the United States is still willing to engage with him,” he said.

In the run-up to the election, Prime Minister General Thein Sein and some 22 other ministers retired from their military posts in a move seen as converting the leadership to civilian status ahead of elections due this year.

State media reported that Thein Sein also applied to form a new political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley responded cautiously, saying: “It may be seen as a possible positive step, but we’ll be guided by the actions that Burma takes.”

“What Burma needs to do is to open up real, genuine political space, not just for ex-generals, but also for all people who want to participate constructively in Burmese society,” Crowley said.

“If these individuals transforming themselves from generals to civilians can open up that space, then that we would truly see as a positive step,” he said.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 5, 2010 at 2:51 am

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