Obama tells Burma to free Suu Kyi

Author: PA

Obama delivered the message during his summit with leaders of 10 south-east
Asian nations in Singapore, which included Burma prime minister General
Thein Sein.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama called on
Burma to free Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, and end oppression of
minorities.

He said Obama “brought that up directly with that government”, Mr
Gibbs said.

Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi has been in detention for 14 of the last 20 years.

For decades, Western governments have avoided direct contacts with leaders of
Burma because of the regime’s poor human rights record and suppression of
democracy.

A joint statement to be issued after the summit – the first between a US
president and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – is expected to
devote an entire section on Burma, a major irritant in relations between the
two sides.

The statement is not expected to contain a US proposal to call for the release
of political prisoners, including Suu Kyi.

But a direct appeal from Obama carries more weight as he is the most powerful
leader to have conveyed the message directly to a top Burma official.

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