US URGES ASEAN TO PUSH BURMA ON HUMAN RIGHTS

The United States urged Southeast Asian nations yesterday to pressure Burma's military rulers to release all political prisoners and observe human rights, US Secretary of State James Baker III said.

The six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been officially silent on human rights violations in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Western diplomatic sources said ASEAN wanted first to draw Burma into dialogue.

Mr. Baker and the foreign ministers of Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the European Community called for the release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and reinstatement of elected parliamentary leaders.

Canada's External Affairs Secretary Barbara McDougall had called for an arms embargo, and Baker said in a briefing that the US would want other countries to join such an embargo on Burma. But there was little support for the proposal from among ASEAN members, sources said.

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