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Daily Press Beirfing of State Dept.
- Subject: Daily Press Beirfing of State Dept.
- From: freeburma@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 06 Dec 1996 08:06:00
Subject: Daily Press Beirfing of State Dept. (12/04)
Daily Press Briefing
U.S. Department of State
December 4, 1996
QUESTION: Two questions on Burma. It's looks as if Aun San Suu Kyi has
been restricted to her home, if she's not under house arrest. There's
been a crackdown on the protesters. Any reaction from the United States?
MR. BURNS: We understand that Aung San Suu Kyi is not under house
arrest, though the
SLORC officials asked her to stay at her home earlier this week when
they were busy trying to disrupt the student demonstrations in the
streets of Rangoon. They said this was for her safety, but I don't
believe that and I imagine you don't either.
We understand that she does have plans to leave her home tomorrow. We
understand the Burmese authorities have said she is free to do so. That
is positive. She ought to be free to travel in and around Rangoon and,
indeed, throughout the country.
We're concerned that the SLORC continues to place undue limitations on
the freedom of movement of the National League of Democracy and
specifically of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
QUESTION: Any reaction to ASEAN's move to admit Burma as a member?
MR. BURNS: This is a decision taken by ASEAN. ASEAN takes its own
The United States has expressed to individual ASEAN members, as recently
as the meetings in Manila two weeks ago as well as to ASEAN
collectively, that we don't believe that Burma is ready for full
membership in ASEAN. But the United States, of course, must respect the
wishes of the ASEAN members. We'll continue to work with ASEAN in our
post-ministerial dialogue every year and throughout the year. But we do
have our own views on Burma. Those views have not changed.
The Burmese Government has done nothing to help us change those views.
It continues to repress its own people. We're looking for some concrete
actions, not only by countries in the West, but countries in the Far
East that would help to convince the Burmese Government that it cannot
repudiate the wishes of its own people and not pay some kind of penalty.
That's why you've seen the United States take some measures to try to
heighten the pressure on the Burmese Government.
QUESTION: Do you have any response to the Human Rights Watch Report this
morning and to
the comments of Mr. Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director? He was sharply
critical of the Clinton Administration's policy on human rights, saying
it's lost a number of opportunities and wasted a number of opportunities
to use leverage, specifically in China, in Bosnia, and the Middle East?
MR. BURNS: I haven't seen the comments by this individual, by Human
Rights Watch. But, in general, I find it odd that a group interested in
human rights would somehow single out the United States for criticism
when, in the case of Serbia, we were the first country to stand up
publicly at this podium and condemn Slobodan Milosevic for stealing the
I don't think any country in the world, bar none, has given more
attention to the issue of human rights in China and where we're very
actively supporting, probably as a point country, the rights of the
people of Burma to assemble peacefully and to have their own elections
respected -- the elections that were stolen from them many years ago by
I would, in general, take issue with that type of criticism that singles
us out for particular treatment because we have a good record.
In Serbia today, we are standing up for democracy on the streets of
Belgrade. We're doing so against the wishes, obviously, of a leader with
whom we have worked closely in the Dayton peace accords. But we're doing
that because it's the right thing to do and it represents the best of