Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RPT-Singapore Distancing Itself from Burma - Analysts

Source: Reuters

While opposing sanctions against Myanmar in public, Singapore's government and its banks in particular appear to be quietly distancing themselves from the ruling junta, analysts and bankers said on Tuesday.

Officially, Singapore has not deviated from the line given by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a month ago, at the height of the junta's bloody crackdown on democracy protests, that sanctions would be unlikely to shunt Myanmar towards political reform.

But gradually, signs are emerging of institutions in the city-state pulling back from involvement with the generals, for whom Singapore is a top medical and leisure destination -- and widely believed to be home to their off-shore bank accounts.

"What's going on behind the scenes, particularly on the financial side, is de facto sanctions," said Sean Turnell, author of the Burma Economic Watch journal at Sydney's Macquarie University.

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