The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 21, 2004

Statement by the Press Secretary

Burma: National Reconciliation and Democracy

The United States is a steadfast supporter of the democracy movement in Burma and commends the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Aung San Suu Kyi for their commitment to democratic principles. Given that Rangoon's constitutional convention has not allowed for substantive dialogue and the full participation of all political groups, including the NLD, it lacks legitimacy. Due to the unresolved crisis, the President has extended for one year the national emergency and associated sanctions with respect to Burma. With each passing day, a growing chorus of Burma's neighbors and members of the international community have called on Rangoon to fulfill its promises of progress on democracy and national reconciliation. We call on the military authorities to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo, and to reopen the NLD branch offices which were closed last year.

Burmese officials have put forward a road map for democracy, but there has been no meaningful progress toward this goal. Advancement of national reconciliation and democracy requires the inclusion of all political groups and genuine, transparent dialogue. The protection of the civil and political rights of the Burmese people is also crucial.

We encourage the United Nations and members of the international community to continue to support the NLD and the Burmese people in their desire for democracy, national reconciliation, and improved human rights in Burma.

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