November 07, 2010

Chairman Kerry On The Elections In Burma

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today released the following statement in response to the elections in Burma:

“Today's elections in Burma were the culmination of a deeply flawed process and should not be considered legitimate.  Despite its origins, this government does have an opportunity to bring change.  One test will occur in just a few days, when Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s politically motivated confinement under house arrest is set to expire.  She should be set free and allowed to speak her mind.  Similarly, those opposition party members who ran in the elections and won seats should be able to play a meaningful role in helping to shape the nation’s future.  The military’s “roadmap to democracy” will lead to a dead end if the government keeps its political opponents jailed and muzzled. 

“If the Burmese government breaks from the policies of the past, the United States should stand ready to improve relations.  But make no mistake, this will require a government with new faces and new policies: releasing political prisoners, easing media and speech restrictions, seeking peace and reconciliation with Burma’s ethnic groups, abiding by international norms on non-proliferation, pursuing economic reforms, and allowing greater space for international and non-governmental organizations to help meet the critical needs of Burma’s people.  The government’s progress in achieving these benchmarks will demonstrate whether Burma is truly embarking on the path towards democracy and international legitimacy or whether it remains anchored to the failed policies of the past.”

###

Press Contact

CONTACT: SFRC Press Office, 202-224-3468