Friday, January 2, 2009

US openly backs Burma democracy

Washington - The United States on Friday highlighted its support for efforts to establish democracy in military-run Burma, ahead of that country's 61st anniversary of independence.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack alluded to the human rights crackdown by the military junta that has been in power since 1962, as he commemorated the anniversary of independence of Burma from Britain on January 4, 1948.

"We wish to express our warmest wishes to the people of Burma on this occasion," McCormack said in a statement.

"As we reflect on Burma's independence struggle, led by Gen Aung San, we are reminded of our own history," the statement said, alluding to the US drive for independence from Britain in the 18th century.

"We support the peaceful efforts of people everywhere to exercise freely their universal human rights," he said.

"We stand with the Burmese people today in honoring Aung San's vision for an independent, peaceful, and democratic Burma and look forward to the day when Burma's citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy," he said.

"We earnestly hope that day will come soon," according to McCormack's statement.

Massive protests in 2007, sparked initially by fuel-hikes and involving tens of thousands of people, were eventually crushed by the military. At least 31 people were killed, according to the United Nations.

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