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Burma says US preaparing sanctions.
Burma Says U.S. Preparing Sanctions
RANGOON, Burma (Reuter) - Burma's military government accused the United
States Wednesday of seeking to use
restrictions placed on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as an excuse
to impose sanctions.
The U.S. embassy denied the charge that it tried to flout government
measures confining Nobel Peace prize laureate Suu Kyi
to her house during current student unrest.
"The U.S. embassy has tried to bring her outside, knowing that it will be
refused. I can see the trend is definitely heading
toward creating more pressure for sanctions," a senior government
official told Reuters.
The official repeated earlier assertions from the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council's (SLORC) that the request
for Suu Kyi to temporarily confine herself in her house was made out of
sincere concern for her safety.
A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said: "We are not trying to create anything.
Perhaps the easiest way to resolve this is to check
with the individual concerned.
"Why don't you ask Aung San Suu Kyi if she is being unlawfully detained?"
President Clinton slapped a visa ban on senior SLORC officials in October
after the military government arrested hundreds of
pro-democracy activists in September.
The U.S. Senate in July passed legislation allowing Clinton to impose
economic sanctions if repression in Burma worsened or if
Suu Kyi was rearrested.
The SLORC asked her not to leave her lakeside residence for two days last
week after Rangoon's biggest street protests
since a pro-democracy uprising in 1988 was crushed by the military,
leaving thousands killed or in jail.
The self-proclaimed Burmese government-in-exile predicted Wednesday that
various democratic forces were poised to topple
the military junta.
A minister in the Washington-based National Coalition Government of the
Union of Burma (NCGUB) told Reuters in an
interview in Pa-An, Eastern Burma, that current student protests were a
manifestation of such forces, and would grow.
"I think democratic forces are having the upper hand right now. So I
think in the near future, democratic forces will be able to
topple military rule," Tint Swe, a minister in the office of NCGUB Prime
Minister Sein Win, said.
Suu Kyi's aides said she had since chosen to stay inside her compound
rather than seek government approval to go out.
Officials of her National League for Democracy party (NLD) said she also
declined to go out to avoid being drawn into the
unrest, which had become more muted by Wednesday.
Burmese security forces arrested about 20 students after scattered
protests in the tightly secured capital Rangoon, witnesses
and diplomats said Wednesday.
Some 50 Yangon University students held a brief anti-government protest
in front of the U.S. embassy in the center of the city
"They gathered near the embassy after either walking or taking buses to
the embassy. About 20 students were arrested," a
student source said. "We want to continue protesting but it is difficult
to organize now."
All university campuses have been closed since Monday. Student sources
said Wednesday campus authorities told parents to
take home boarding students for two weeks.
At the peak of last week's anti-government protests, thousands of
students from two colleges took to the streets. Authorities
broke up the demonstrations, held over 860 students and later freed them.
The students were protesting alleged police brutality during a brawl in
October between some institute students and restaurant
owners. They also want to be allowed to set up student unions on campus.
Official Burmese media Wednesday quoted top SLORC officials as warning
against further disturbances.
Powerful military intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Khin Nyunt told Burmese
writers at a ceremony Wednesday to beware of the
threat to Burma posed by internal and external destructive elements. He
did not identify the elements.
Diplomats said the SLORC had issued circulars to all embassies in
Rangoon, informing them the SLORC had exercised
maximum restraint despite sustained student protests.
[Reuter, 11 December 1996].