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Western threats against Myanmar futile: Exiled leader

The founder of the Free Burma Coalition said that Western threats against Myanmar have only served to harden the junta's resistance.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 16:10 IST

Western threats against Myanmar have only served to harden the ruling military junta's resistance, the exiled founder of the Free Burma Coalition wrote in a commentary published here on Friday.

A "Washington-led campaign to get the United Nations to intervene" on the grounds that the country is a security threat is a "futile approach", Maung Zarni wrote in The Independent newspaper.

Attempts to frame the junta -- which has ruled the country formerly known as Burma since 1962 -- as a threat to world peace only reinforce the military's view that Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is a "stooge", said the Oxford University visiting research fellow.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in Yangon, turns 61 on Monday.

"The West needs to appreciate fully both the immeasurable cost of nearly 60 years of post-independence domestic conflicts and the urgent need to de-escalate and defuse them," wrote Maung Zarni, who said he had been in political exile for 17 years.

Instead, Myanmar's nation-building requirements need to be recognised, he wrote.

He said a "more informed policy" towards Myanamar would acknowledge the limits of American power, and encourage the European Union to take a more independent stance towards the Burma problem.

The West needs to understand the junta's concerns for the potential Balkanisation of Burma, Maung Zarni said.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 16:04 IST