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State Department Conveys Greetings on Suu Kyi’s Birthday - 2003-06-19


Here is the full text of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's personal greetings on Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's 58th birthday:

Today is the birthday of the leader of the democratic opposition in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has sent his personal greetings, but our embassy has been unable to deliver them to her this year because, sadly, this is the seventh birthday since 1989 that she has spent under detention by her country's military rulers. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate who stands for nonviolent change to improve the lives of the people of her nation, Aung San Suu Kyi is a symbol for those who support democracy and freedom around the world. Her struggle on behalf of the people of Burma is now in its 15th year.

Last year at this time Aung San Suu Kyi had recently been released from house arrest and was working toward a political dialogue which would lead to national reconciliation. The ruling military junta, the "State Peace and Development Council," has now dashed these hopes and dreams of the Burmese people.

The continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, members of her political party and others who have peacefully expressed their political views, is without cause and unacceptable. They should be released immediately and the offices of the National League for Democracy should be reopened without delay. We call on Burma's military rulers to begin work immediately with the National League of Democracy to formulate a concrete plan to restore democracy in Burma.

We also call on the junta for a full accounting of the dead, injured, and missing from the attack of May 30, now known to Burmese as "Black Friday."

The situation in Burma is of grave concern not just for the United States. Secretary Powell met with Burma's neighbors this week to emphasize that the international community must work together for reform. We welcome the statement of the ASEAN member states on Burma and support ASEAN's plans to send a troika delegation to Rangoon.

We salute Aung San Suu Kyi and hope that future birthdays find her living free in a free Burma.

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