SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Australia
has rejected Myanmar's nominee as ambassador to the country
because he is a general in the Southeast Asian nation's military
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said
Tuesday he was taking the highly unusual step of refusing to
accept another country's nominee as its top diplomat because of
the Myanmar junta's reputation for repression.
"Burma has a very brutal military
regime and I refused to accept a general from that regime,"
Downer told reporters in his home town of Adelaide, using the
name many people still call Myanmar.
"We will not be accepting anybody from
the military regime in Burma as a representative of Burma in
Australia. That is completely unacceptable," he said.
Downer did not identify Myanmar's
nominee. The Australian newspaper named him as Brig. Gen. Thura
U Thet Oo Maung, who had served in Myanmar's Shan and Karen
states where rebels have been fighting the government.
The general would have replaced
Myanmar's current ambassador.
Downer said he had made the decision
to reject the nominee "a couple of months ago," and the
crackdown on anti-government protesters in recent weeks
confirmed the junta's brutality.
He said the Australian government
believed at least 30 people have been killed in the crackdown -
not the 10 that the Myanmar military claims - and about 1,400