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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
December 18, 2007

Statement by Mrs. Laura Bush

It is clear from the briefing that I received from U.N. Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari yesterday followed by his report to the United Nations General Assembly today that Burma's General Than Shwe and his associates are failing to meet even the minimal expectations set out by the unanimous membership of the U.N. Security Council on October 11, 2007. These include the release of all political prisoners, commencement of a genuine dialogue with democratic activists led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and address of political and human rights issues.

The junta has made no meaningful attempt to meet and talk with democratic activists. Instead it has continued to harass and detain them. The junta leaders continue to sell the country's natural resources to enrich themselves. While they reject international calls for a democratic transition, they have put Burma in shambles and placed its people in a perilous state. Children are being trafficked and subject to forced recruitment into the military; citizens are fleeing the country to seek work and basic healthcare; meanwhile infectious diseases, including AIDS and malaria, continue to spread unchecked.

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