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Indonesia and Singapore meetings receive mixed reactions

Mar 19, 2009 (DVB), The outcome of the Burmese Prime Minister's visit to Indonesia and Singapore this week has received mixed reactions from opposition groups, some pointing to signs of progress while others seeing no change.

Prime Minister Thein Shein arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, before flying the next day to Singapore to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.

The issue of democratic reform in Burma was discussed in both meetings, as was the looming 2010 elections.

"The Burmese government still has not made any further announcement on the 2010 elections apart from Than Shwe speaking about it only once," said Communist Party of Burma spokesperson Pho Than Chaung.

"Also they haven't made any announcement regarding the election rules," he added.

Last Friday United States President Barrack Obama met with President Yudhoyono to discuss democratic reform and human rights issues in Burma.

"It seems to us like the junta is waiting for a good time," said Pho Than Chaung.

"They've always wanted to suck up to the United States and build good relations between the two governments."

The reaction from National League for Democracy regarding the Thein Shein's visit to Singapore was somewhat more positive.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that with a changing global environment, including a new United States' administration, Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council should take "bolder steps" towards democratic reform.

The NLD took the "push for democratic reconciliation" during Thein Shein's trip as "a good sign", according to NLD spokesperson Nyan Win, despite the trip coinciding with renewed crackdown by the Burmese government on NLD members in Burma.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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