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US Reacts to Independence Declaration by Burma's Ethnic Shan


The U.S. State Department says the Burmese Government must engage its democratic opposition and ethnic minorities in dialogue - this, a week after the ethnic Shan group declared independence.

A State Department spokesman on Monday called for Burma's leaders to respect and ensure the free exercise of human rights, allow political parties to operate freely, and release all political prisoners.

He said any changes to Burma's constitution or governing structures should be the product of a democratically and freely elected body chosen by the people of Burma.

The Burmese military government, as well as the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, have condemned last Sunday's declaration of independence.

The pro-democracy NLD said the move could complicate Burma's internal affairs, while the government declared the Shan an unlawful association.

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