The United States commends UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for convening a meeting on September 29 with his special envoy to Burma Ambassador Razali Ismail and concerned UN members to discuss the lack of progress toward democracy and national reconciliation in Burma. We hope that the Secretary General will remain focused on this matter and that his engagement will generate more international community cooperation on this vital issue.
We urge the Burmese authorities to allow Ambassador Razali to return to Burma without delay and to conduct follow-up visits as he deems necessary.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the continued detention of courageous democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the failure of the junta to permit the National League for Democracy to open its offices nationwide and operate freely, the junta's refusal to release over a thousand political prisoners, and by the recent arrest of political activist U Ohne Thant and the sentencing of four NLD members for illegal political activities.
Our position is clear: The Burmese people's desire for a national reconciliation and the establishment democracy must be respected. As President Bush said at the UN General Assembly when he quoted Aung San Suu Kyi, We do not accept the notion that democracy is a Western value. To the contrary; democracy simply means good government rooted in responsibility, transparency, and accountability.
To achieve these objectives, Burma must take tangible steps, including the immediate releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, the full and free participation of National League for Democracy and representatives of the ethnic minorities in the National Convention and the initiation of a meaningful dialogue to advance national reconciliation and the establishment of democracy.