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TEXT: ALBRIGHT MAY 27 RADIO FREE AS
- Subject: TEXT: ALBRIGHT MAY 27 RADIO FREE AS
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 22:23:00
Subject: TEXT: ALBRIGHT MAY 27 RADIO FREE ASIA REMARKS ON BURMA (USIS
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27 May 1999 USIS Washington File
TEXT: ALBRIGHT MAY 27 RADIO FREE ASIA REMARKS ON BURMA
(Albright to Burma military 'reverse course') (780)
Washington -- The United States has a clear message for the Burmese
military regime -- "reverse course and "begin to move in a democratic
direction," says U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
A transition to democratic rule, Albright said May 27 in a special
broadcast to Burma for Radio Free Asia, was no cause for the military
"to fear that its own rightful role in Burmese society would be
jeopardized as a result."
Burma's National League for Democracy and other friends of democracy
should keep faith, she urged. "The world is aware of your struggle and
deeply sympathetic to your cause," Albright said.
"We will continue to support your right to a voice in determining the
future of your country," she said, adding that the United States
looked forward to the day when "we can welcome a democratic Burma into
the community of free nations."
Following is the text of Albright's remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
May 27, 1999
Taped Remarks by
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
for Radio Free Asia's Special Broadcast to Burma
May 27, 1999
May 27, 1999 marks the ninth anniversary of the last free elections
held in Burma, the last time the people of that country had the
opportunity to express their own will about how and by whom their
nation would be led. By an overwhelming margin, the Burmese chose
candidates from the National League for Democracy, or NLD, which won
more than eighty percent of the Parliamentary seats.
Tragically, the results of that election were not accepted or
recognized by Burma's military junta. Instead of yielding power, the
military has abused it, denying the people of Burma not only democracy
but virtually any free expression of political and other basic human
The United Nations General Assembly, the European Union, the United
States and many others have urged the junta to change its policies and
put Burma back on the democratic path. We have pointed out that the
prosperity and long term stability of Burma depend on a political
system that reflects the views and hopes of the Burmese people. And we
have stressed the importance of initiating a meaningful dialogue with
the democratic opposition, including the leader of the NLD, Aung San
Suu Kyi, and with representatives of ethnic minority groups.
Unfortunately, the military authorities have responded by making a
terrible situation even worse. They have placed more than 150
democratically elected members of parliament under arrest. They have
repeatedly harassed and sought to intimidate the NLD. They have
continued to repress fundamental freedoms of political organization,
assembly and speech. And they continue to increase military
expenditures, while devoting few resources to education and health.
The people of Burma are paying a terrible price for the arrogance and
brutality of their leaders. Burma's economy is sliding further and
further behind its Asian neighbors. Burma's universities are closed.
The country is plagued by a terrible outbreak of HIV/AIDS, which has
been aggravated by the nation's status as a leading center of the drug
trade. The authorities in Rangoon have promised their people
stability, prosperity and democracy, but have delivered on none of
The United States has sought consistently to encourage political
liberalization and respect for human rights in Burma. During my visit
to Rangoon in 1995, I urged the military leadership to begin a process
that would lead to multiparty democracy. Others have echoed this call.
And we have backed our diplomacy with measures to prevent the sale of
arms, bar new investment, and restrict visas for senior government
leaders and their families. Other countries, particularly the European
Union, have instituted similar policies.
On this ninth anniversary of the last free elections in Burma, our
message to the Burmese military is to reverse course and begin to move
in a democratic direction. In recent decades, peaceful transitions to
democracy have occurred on five continents. There is no reason it
should not happen in Burma, and no reason for the military to fear
that its own rightful role in Burmese society would be jeopardized as
Our message to the NLD and other democratic forces in Burma is to have
faith. The world is aware of your struggle and deeply sympathetic to
your cause. We will continue to support your right to a voice in
determining the future of your country. And we look forward to the day
we can welcome a democratic Burma into the community of free nations.