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Premier Oil under fire over Burma l

Subject: Premier Oil under fire over Burma links (London Evening Standard) 

Premier Oil under fire over Burma links

BELEAGUERED Premier Oil directors were bracing themselves for turbulent
scenes at its annual meeting today with scores of campaigners due to protest
over its activities in Burma, writes Melanie Tringham. 

The World Development Movement was planning to stage a five-man "lie-in"
outside the meeting over claims the group has been destroying rural
communities in the troubled country. 

The activists blame a gas pipeline under construction since 1990, which they
claim prompted the Burmese military government to move 25,000 residents from
their homes. In return, Premier pays substantial taxes to the Burmese

Premier Oil posted a £137 million loss two months ago, has parted company
with two directors and has seen rebellious shareholders whip up support for
further boardroom changes. 

A company spokesman described World Development's accusations as "absolute
utter nonsense", saying the Burmese people had "benefited considerably" from
the pipeline, thanks to plenty of new jobs. 

"Constructive co-operation is more likely to lead to successful development
than isolation. The region has increased in size while we have been there." 

The US has adopted economic sanctions against Burma because of its record on
human rights. Europe, however, has not followed this policy.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 18 May 1999