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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 25, 2008

Statement by Mrs. Laura Bush on Burma

One year ago tomorrow, tens of thousands of Burmese monks and ordinary citizens poured into the streets to demonstrate for freedom, economic progress, and basic human rights. The world watched in horror as Than Shwe ordered his military to begin a brutal crackdown. Soldiers sprayed bullets into unarmed crowds. They imprisoned thousands in cramped cells. Monks who led the protests were beaten, arrested, and killed - and their monasteries were raided in nighttime attacks. In response, international organizations and governments around the world condemned Burma's military regime, called for the release of all political prisoners, and demanded a genuine dialogue on transition to a democratic government.

Burma's regime has ignored the entreaties of the international community. It has treated the United Nations Special Envoy with disregard. Through its actions, the regime has reaffirmed its disdain for the will and the well-being of the people of Burma. The military leaders carried out a sham constitutional referendum, extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, and continued to arrest political activists.

The United States reiterates our long-standing call for the Burmese regime to engage in a genuine dialogue with all democratic and ethnic minority leaders, with the goal of making a credible transition to civilian, democratic government. We call on the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.

The United States will continue to work with the international community to hold the regime accountable for its actions and to intensify pressure on the regime to meet these basic requirements.

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