Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States welcomes the news that the government has released hundreds of political prisoners, several of whom have languished in prison for decades.
“The release of political prisoners is a substantial and serious step forward in the government’s stated commitment to political reform, and I applaud it, and the entire international community should as well.” -Ms. Clinton
She noted that Aung San Suu Kyi has welcomed the dramatic steps as further indication of progress and commitment.
She reported that many of the people released today have distinguished themselves as steadfast, courageous leaders in the fight for democracy and human rights at critical times in their country’s recent history.
“And like all of the people of their country, they want and deserve to have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton said she visited Burma in December on behalf of President Obama and the United States. She said she encouraged authorities to continue along the path of reform.
“In particular, I urged them to unconditionally release all political prisoners, halt hostilities in ethnic areas, and seek a true political settlement. This would broaden the space for political and civic activity, and by doing so, it would lay the groundwork to fully implement legislation that would protect universal freedoms of assembly, speech, and association.” -Ms. Clinton
She also cited that she urged Burma that they sever all illicit military ties with North Korea.
“As I said last December, the United States will meet action with action. Based on the steps taken so far, we will now begin. In consultation with members of Congress and at the direction of President Obama, we will start the process of exchanging ambassadors with Burma.” -Ms. Clinton
She noted that they will identify a candidate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to represent the United States Government and its broader efforts to strengthen and deepen its ties with both the people and the government.