Today, Condoleezza Rice, secretary of the US State Department, issued the following statement concerning Aung San Suu Kyi:
Tomorrow, on June 19, Aung San Suu Kyi will spend yet another birthday in custody, denied her liberty and fundamental political and civil rights by Burma’s military rulers. This deplorable situation must end.
Sadly, the regime not only continues to keep this distinguished Nobel laureate under house arrest, but there are nearly 2,000 other political prisoners currently in custody. Burma’s rulers should release all political prisoners and begin to move in earnest to transform Burma into a democratic society.
Meanwhile, the regime has backtracked on even the modest steps it had taken – naming a liaison to meet regularly with Aung San Suu Kyi and allowing her to meet with her colleagues in Burma’s National League for Democracy. There have been no meetings with either since January, and Aung San Suu Kyi has even been denied regular access to medical care and legal counsel.
Rather than risking further unrest in Burma by its unjustified detention of political prisoners and its holding of a rigged referendum in May on a sham constitution, the regime should release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and begin a genuine dialogue with her and other democratic and ethnic minority leaders on a transition to democracy.