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31 July 2003

McConnell Urges Singapore To Freeze Burmese Junta's Assets

Freeze should last until Aung San Suu Kyi is released

On the day the United States put a freeze on the Burmese junta's assets in the United States, Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican of Kentucky) called on the government of Singapore to follow suit with the junta's assets in its country.

In remarks to the Senate July 29, McConnell, the deputy majority leader, said such actions would place "much needed" pressure on the Rangoon regime.

Following is the text of McConnell's remarks from the Congressional Record:

(begin text)



July 29, 2003

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I do not intend to delay consideration of the U.S.-Singapore free-trade agreement, but I do want to take a moment to highlight a significant step that Singapore can take today to further the cause of freedom in Burma.

It has been reported, by U.N. Special Envoy Razali Ismail and others, that the repressive and illegitimate State Peace and Development Council, SPDC, has assets tucked away in Singapore financial institutions. Given the many illicit activities of the SPDC, one can rightfully question the source of these funds.

Like the United States, Singapore should immediately freeze the SPDC's assets until such time that democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other all democrats are freed from detention and a process of national reconciliation is agreed to and implemented by all parties--the National League for Democracy, ethnic nationalities, and the SPDC.

Such action not only underscores Singapore's commitment to the rule of law throughout the region, but places much needed pressure on the junta in Rangoon to change their oppressive ways.

Southeast Asian countries can no longer ignore the many threats to regional stability posed by the generals in Burma. The situation in Burma should be a matter of concern to all of Burma's neighbors--and the U.N. Security Council.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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