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French FM Proposes Fund to Push Democratic Change in Burma

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has proposed an international fund to provide Burma economic incentives to embrace democracy.

Kouchner told journalists in Singapore Monday Burma's military rulers must be urged to change through both sanctions and incentives.

He says the fund could be sourced from institutions like the World Bank, and could be used to support trade and development.

He says Britain has already expressed support for France's idea of the fund. Kouchner is in Singapore as part of an Asian tour to press for change in Burma.

The European Union and United States strengthened sanctions on Burma earlier this month in response to a deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters there in September.

Buddhist monks led the mass protests, which were the biggest challenge to the Burmese government in two decades.

They have not returned to the streets since security forces killed at least 10 people, and beat and detained thousands of activists. Pro-democracy activists say the death toll was much higher.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.