Wednesday, May 20, 2009

British Premier sends extra-ordinary letter to Suu Kyi

by Mungpi
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 22:00

New Delhi (Mizzima) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday sent an open letter to Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying “people are standing with you not just here in Britain, but everywhere that democracy and freedom are upheld.”

Brown, addressing the Burmese democracy icon as “Daw Suu”, said, “We are heartened by your tremendous courage, your inspirational leadership, and by the knowledge that no oppression is so great that the forces of liberty cannot prevail.”

The British premier also reiterated his support for her by saying the British government is committed to work with international partners to support Burma's path to stability, peace and economic recovery.

He said he had also worked with partners in the EU to maintain sanctions that are “tough and targeted against those individuals who wish to deny the Burmese people their rights.”

“And I will continue to press your neighbours in Asia to work even harder for your release and that of all political prisoners in Burma,” he added.

Brown, referring to the Burmese regime, said, “The people of Burma have suffered nearly half a century of conflict and isolation…the time for a transition to democracy is now.”

Brown’s letter comes amidst a trial that the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate is facing in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison for charges of breaching her terms of detention. On Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi, her two live-in party members and the American who allegedly swam across Inya Lake and entered her house, were produced before the court for their second day of hearing.

Protesting the junta’s charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and the trial, foreign ministers from the EU on Monday urged for fresh sanctions against the Burmese regime and on Tuesday hinted that they will call on China and Asian countries to also pressure the regime.

Meanwhile, the US State Department on Monday said the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi does not help the US in considering the easing of sanctions.

Ian Kelly, a department spokesperson, during a press briefing on Monday said the US is undertaking a thorough policy review on Burma, though president Obama on Friday sent notification to Congress for the extension sanctions against the country.

“We are right now involved in a thorough interagency policy review on Burma and how to get them to do the right things vis-à-vis Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma,” Kelly said.

“I think the – this review will consider a whole range of options, including sanctions,” he added.

Kelly said the US is concerned over the charges against the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate and believes the charges are “being used as a pretext to either extend her house arrest or, even more disturbingly perhaps, justify a prison sentence.”

The state department said the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi are unjustified and reiterated its call for the Burmese regime to release her along with the more than 2,100 other political prisoners lingering in prisons across Burma.

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