US-EU agree to increase pressure on Burmese junta

By Aung Lwin Oo

US and European Union leaders agreed to step up pressure on Burma's military junta during a one-day summit meeting in Washington on Monday.

White House officials said the summit has successfully adopted strategic partnership work "to promote peace, human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide." The summit was attended by US President George Bush and a number of European government leaders, including Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, which currently holds the presidency of the European Council.

The summit press secretary's office said in a written statement that the US and EU had "successfully cosponsored" resolutions on human rights and social affairs in Burma," along with North Korea, which re-established diplomatic ties with the Naypyidaw regime last week.

"We continue intense exchanges on Burma at all levels," said the statement. "We are convinced that the effectiveness of our efforts is amplified by delivering the same political messages and coordinating possible actions."

The statement also said the EU, which extended diplomatic and economic sanctions against Burma last week, had used the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, "to press the Burmese regime to adopt a more inclusive political process and introduce a timetable for democratic reform."

EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg last Tuesday reiterated their call for national reconciliation in Burma and expressed concern over human rights abuses and restrictions on the work of domestic and international human rights organizations in Burma.