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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 2, 2004

Statement on Aung San Suu Kyi

The United States continues strongly to support Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese people in their struggle for freedom in Burma. As the President has said, "Aung San Suu Kyi is a courageous reformer and a remarkable woman who remains under house arrest for her efforts to bring democracy to her nation." Thus we note with deep concern reports that the Burmese regime has extended her detention for an additional year. If true, this represents a return to a pattern of unacceptable backtracking on commitments the regime itself has made to move toward democracy and national reconciliation. We had hoped that some recent prisoner releases were a sign that the regime was beginning to move in the right direction, but the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi seems to indicate that this is not the case.

Some of Burma's neighbors have engaged the regime in an effort to encourage positive change, but these overtures have been consistently rebuffed. The generals in Rangoon must come to understand that they cannot indefinitely suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Burmese people and resist the worldwide march to freedom and democracy. Once again, the United States calls on the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and to begin taking other meaningful steps toward national reconciliation, democracy, and improved human rights. Only then will Burma be able to rejoin the community of nations and ensure security and prosperity for its people.

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