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Albright blasts ASEAN decision to i

Subject: Albright blasts ASEAN decision to include Burma

	Albright blasts ASEAN decision to include Burma

 (July 24, 1997, By Laura Myers, Associated Press)

 LOS ANGELES (AP)  Not mincing words, Secretary of State
 Madeleine Albright prepared to meet her counterparts in Southeast
 Asia by criticizing them for welcoming Burma into their political

 She called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' acceptance
 of Burma membership on Wednesday "another brake to the
 region's progress.'' 

 "Burma may be inside ASEAN, but it will remain outside the
 Southeast Asian mainstream,'' Albright said before heading to
 Malaysia today to meet this weekend with foreign ministers of the
 economic and security club. 

 "By admitting Burma as a member, ASEAN assumes a greater
 responsibility, for Burma's problems now become ASEAN's
 problems,'' Albright said. 

 The United States, which in April imposed a ban on new U.S.
 investment in Burma, had lobbied to keep Burma out of ASEAN,
 citing its huge heroin trade and repressive military regime that
 ignored the results of 1990 elections. 

 Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won the election, but instead
 of assuming office, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was put under
 house arrest by the military regime. The house arrest has since been

 The 30-year-old ASEAN, originally devised as a bulwark to
 communist Indochina, invited Burma and Laos to join members
 Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
 and Vietnam. Cambodia was set to join this year, but ASEAN
 postponed its membership after Hun Sen ousted his co-prime
 leader, Prince Ranariddh Norodom, on July 5. 

 The United States is counting on ASEAN to help reason with Hun
 Sen to turn back the results of his coup. Albright said her No. 1 goal
 at a post-ASEAN meetings and conference with foreign ministers in
 Malaysia Saturday through Monday is restoring a coalition
 government in Cambodia. 

 The secretary of state also plans several side meetings with her
 diplomatic counterparts from China, Russia and Japan. 

 Albright said she was pleased to hear Hun Sen would now accept a
 mediator role by ASEAN  something he had rejected just days
 ago  and she noted that so-called outsider nations had a right to
 protect the $3 billion Western governments have spent to prod
 Cambodia toward democracy. 

 "The United States will use its leverage and do all we can in
 partnership with others to see that Hun Sen's words are translated
 into concrete actions,'' she said Wednesday to the Pacific Council
 and Los Angeles World Affairs Council. "The international
 community was right to invest in peace in Cambodia, and we are
 right to insist now that the government in Phnom Penh live up to its
 obligation to respect democratic principles.'' 

 The United States has suspended economic aid to Cambodia 
 $41.8 million  for at least 30 days because of the coup, saying
 full funding won't be restored unless Hun Sen adheres to the 1991
 Paris Peace accord that ended civil war in Cambodia. That
 agreement led to the 1993 U.N.-sponsored elections that put the
 royal party in power, although Hun Sen was given a co-leader role. 

 So far, ASEAN and the United States have refused to accept
 anyone but Ranariddh as Hun Sen's co-premier, although the coup
 leader picked a member of the royal party, Foreign Minister Ung
 Huot, to replace his foe. 

 In Kuala Lumpur, Ung Huot met Wednesday with former New
 York congressman Stephen Solarz, President Clinton's envoy on
 the crisis. Solarz declined to disclose details, but said Ung Huot
 "may be in a somewhat delicate situation himself. I think we all
 know who's calling the shots in Phnom Penh.'' 

 Solarz is to report his progress to Albright on Saturday. She's also
 meeting with three ASEAN envoys who have met with both sides

 U.S. officials remain skeptical about Hun Sen, whose forces have
 been accused of executing at least 40 followers of the prince after
 the coup. 

 Nonetheless, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the
 United States might accept a replacement for Ranariddh if one is
 democratically chosen by the Cambodia National Assembly, set to
 vote on Sunday. 


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        All Burma Students'Democratic Organisation (ABSDO) [Austrlaia]
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