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International Outcry Over Crackdown On Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD - 2003-06-03


International condemnation of the physical attack against Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her travelling party of 19 National League for Democracy members as well as the subsequent detention of her and other NLD leaders was swift.

President Bush, in a statement from Egypt where he is traveling, said, "I am deeply concerned by reports from Burma of the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her political party, as well as reports that military authorities have closed her party headquarters in Rangoon."

Secretary Powell, on board a plane en route Sharm el-Sheikh, also said "We have joined with other nations in condemning the placement of Aung San Suu Kyi into protective or any other sort of custody. The Burmese authorities say they did it as a way of protecting her during a disturbance. If that is the case, therefore, we expect she will be immediately or promptly released. We have conveyed this through diplomatic channels to the Burmese government."

Britain's Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien, in a statement said, "I call on the Burmese authorities to release immediately Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other party members, and to take rapid action against the USDA and others responsible for the provocation that led to this incident."

France, Germany, Sweden and Australia also called for prompt and immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and her party officials as well as for a national reconciliation process to begin as soon as possible.

Japan, Burma's principal donor nation, also said, "Our nation hopes the government of Burma will swiftly normalize the situation, including ensuring freedom of political activities."

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, speaking on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of trade ministers of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in northern Thailand, said, "We are trying to urge the Burmese government to build total national reconciliation, not only with Aung San Suu Kyi but with all ethnic minorities."

The exile Members of Parliament Union (Burma), the Karen National Union and the Shan State Army, likewise, condemned the ruling military for this untoward incident and the crackdown on Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy.

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