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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 31, 2007

Statement by Press Secretary Sally McDonough

This morning, Mrs. Laura Bush called U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express her deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Burma.

Over the last few weeks, Burma's military junta has intensified its abuses of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators. In response to recent public protests, the generals have launched a major crackdown, arresting and intimidating dissidents. Regime authorities have beaten protesters, and then denied them basic medical treatment. In an August 30 statement, President Bush denounced the junta's repression - expressing Americans' dismay over these unacceptable violations of human rights and calling for the release of all political prisoners.

Last September, Mrs. Bush convened a discussion on Burma at the 61st U.N. General Assembly. Since then, she has met with the U.N.'s special envoy for Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, as well as members of the United States Congress to discuss the plight of Burmese dissidents. She has also met with leaders of the country's ethnic minority groups, who have spoken of the atrocities committed against them by the Burmese regime. Mrs. Bush noted that by staying quiet, the United Nations - and all nations - condone these abuses.

During her call with Secretary-General Ban, Mrs. Bush asked him to join the United States in condemning the junta's brutal crackdown. She also asked that the U.N. - through its Security Council - take action to prevent further violence and repression in Burma in advance of the 62nd General Assembly in New York. She shared her hope that U.N. member states will work together to support the Burmese people in their struggle for freedom.

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