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Latest update : 2009-11-23

US policy of engagement leaves exiles uneasy

After more than a decade of using the stick in relations with Burma's military junta, the administration of US President Barack Obama has shown signs it also intends to use the carrot - at the risk of upsetting exiled Burmese opposition groups.

Thailand's border with Burma has long been a sanctuary for tens of thousands of displaced Burmese who have fled persecution in their homeland. More than 120,000 refugees have been living in makeshift camps along the border for the last 25 years, but the area is also home to scores of exiled politicians, rebels and even Buddisht monks who escaped the crackdown that followed the Safron revolution of September 2007, in which hundreds of people were killed.
 
A new policy of engagement and dialogue with the military junta initiated by the US administration of President Barack Obama has taken the exiled Burmese community by surprise. We went to hear their reactions, ranging from rejection to despair and sometimes hope.

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