The State Department expressed strong support for democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and released the following statement on February 13.
Aung San Suu Kyi was recognized once again last week, receiving a major award for her heroic efforts to bring freedom to Burma.
At the same time, in Burma, local members of a government-affiliated organization have been handing out pamphlets defaming her, her family, and her struggle.
In addition, the ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council, has arrested democratic activists, denying them the peaceful expression of their political views.
While the world community looks forward to reconciliation and democracy for the people of Burma, the regime there seems to be looking backward.
The United States once again calls on the military regime to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and to engage in a real dialogue regarding constitutional issues. We continue to support the efforts of United Nations Special Envoy Razali Ismail to foster change. It is time for the people of Burma to be given hope for the future.
Meanwhile, on February 12 the United Nations issued a statement that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is concerned at the arrests by the Burmese authorities of 12 members of opposition parties, including seven members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) as well as Sai Nyunt Lwin, the Secretary-General of the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD).
He reiterated his strong belief that national reconciliation should begin with a constructive dialogue between the Burmese authorities and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which is being facilitated by his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail.
He said for such a constructive dialogue to move forward, the opposition parties, including NLD, should be able to engage freely in political activities in Burma.
He once again urged the Burmese authorities to release without delay all political prisoners, and to engage in substantive political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.