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United States Expresses Concern Over Situation in Burma

24 June 2005

Ambassador Scott says U.S. raised issue during U.N. Security Council meeting

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The United States expressed serious concern about political repression in Burma during a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting June 24.

Ambassador Gerald Scott, a senior adviser with the United States Mission to the United Nations, said that the United States used the Security Council consultations "to express our serious concern about the fact that the situation in Burma continues to decline."

June 19th was the 60th birthday of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese democracy activist who is under house arrest, and there are at least 1,300 political prisoners in Burma, Scott told journalists outside the Security Council chambers.

"We felt under these circumstances it was appropriate to raise this point with other representatives of the international community," Scott said.

Diplomats said that six of the 15 nations that are members of the Security Council brought up the issue at the closed meeting called to discuss Afghanistan and Iraq.  Burma is not officially on the Security Council's agenda because of expected vetoes by Russia and China, they said.

The United States "brought this [the Burma situation] up because we think it is important to remind the international community of the situation that exists," Scott said.  "We didn't ask anything beyond simply raising the issue to the attention of those present who represent their governments."

In several fora over the past few days, the United States has renewed its call to end political repression in Burma as Suu Kyi observed her birthday under house arrest.  She has spent nine of the last 16 years behind bars or under house arrest for campaigning against the State Peace and Development Council (formerly known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council), the junta that rules her country.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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