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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  February 2011

US in Burma aid talks

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The U.S. has started talks with Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi about US aid programs in the country, says the top US diplomat in Burma.

The US charge d'affaires, Larry Dinger, said he was also consulting Burma's military-backed authorities.

The US currently imposes sanctions on Burma, and offers direct aid only for emergency and humanitarian causes.

Ms. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) recently called for talks on modifying sanctions.

"Of course, the United States is engaging in a dialogue with Aung Sang Suu Kyi and the NLD about US assistance programmes in Burma," Mr Dinger said, adding the dialogue began on Tuesday. "We hope that it will be a continuing conversation," he said.

"We also engaged with the authorities in Naypyidaw and other stakeholders on such important issues in the effort to consider all important perspectives in the formulating of US policies toward Burma," he said.

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04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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