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US Gvot Team
- Subject: US Gvot Team
- From: dvb@xxxxx
- Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:05:00
18Dec96 BURMA: RESHUFFLED US TEAM POISED TO CONFRONT JUNTA.
By WILLIAM BARNES in Bangkok.
The US Government, reshaped following last month's elections, looks ready to
increase pressure on the junta in Rangoon.
Sources close to the US administration said many new appointees were known
supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
When Burma's powerful intelligence chief, General Khun Nyunt, met President
Bill Clinton's next secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, in September he
told her he believed the people of his nation supported the junta "because
they smile a lot".
Replying, Ms Albright said "dictators often delude themselves into believing
they have popular support, but people often smile not because they are
happy, but because they are afraid".
Last week, she told the United Nations General Assembly that the longer the
State Law and Order Restoration Council, as the junta styles itself, delayed
talks with its opponents "the more the pressure will build up, the more
divided Burma will become and the more difficult it will be for Burma to
achieve a peaceful transition to democratic rule".
Mr Albright's replacement as ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, struck
the Washington Post as a "particularly lively choice".
Mr Richardson was the first outsider to see Ms Aung San Suu Kyi in the
build-up to her release from six years of house arrest in 1995.
The next US defence secretary, Republican Senator William Cohen, is -
besides being an expert on military and intelligence policy - a novelist and
poet who has also made known his sympathies for Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mr Cohen sponsored a bill this year that requires sanctions against Burma if
repression there increased.
America's new point man in Rangoon is the reputedly hard-nosed charge
d'affairs, Kent Wiedemann.
Mr Wiedemann - who was stopped by road blocks from meeting Ms Aung San Suu
Kyi on Friday - has been America's most senior civil servant in Asia in the
state and defence departments and has been No 2 in the Beijing Embassy for
Neither is the junta likely to gain much comfort from the appointment of the
UN secretary-general-elect Kofi Annan.
Mr Annan is an old friend of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi from her days of working in
the UN's budgetary department in the late 1960s.
Tin Oo, a deputy-chairman of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for
Democracy, said last week these appointments were a confirmation that "the
pressures are building up" on the regime in Burma.
"They are not going to slide back quietly into the global community as they
thought they would," he said.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 18/12/96
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