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       By FREE SUU KYI, FREE BURMA and the Burma Peace Foundation
PEACE FOUNDATION (this updates and replaces the FREE SUU KYI,
FREE BURMA statement of 10 July 1995)
11 July 1995
FREE SUU KYI, FREE BURMA and the Burma Peace Foundation
wholeheartedly welcome the release of Nobel Peace Laureate Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi. 
The liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi is an important step in the
liberation of Burma from military dictatorship and civil war.
After the euphoria over her release has passed, the focus will be
on the next steps. Some of these are suggested by Suu Kyi in her
(attached) Statements of 22 January 95 and 11 July 95. The
earlier Statement quotes last year's UN General Assembly
resolution on Myanmar, which encouraged the Burmese military to:
"engage in a substantive political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi
and other political leaders, including  representatives from
ethnic groups, as the best means of promoting national reconcil-
iation and the full and early restoration of democracy" (para 5).
The 11 July statement also stresses dialogue as the immediate and
central task.
In addition to Aung San Suu Kyi's direct involvement in the
dialogue, we hope that her release will also contribute to an
atmosphere of trust and reconciliation which will allow the
democracy movement, leaders of ethnic groups and the military to
succeed in the difficult tasks of building democracy and
achieving a genuine political settlement of the civil war. A
meeting is reported to have taken place between Aung San Suu Kyi
and her recently-released colleagues U Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung, a
meeting which, according to one report, also included U Aung
Shwe, the  "official" leader of the National League for Democracy
(NLD). This meeting marks the beginning of the consultation
within the democracy movement stipulated in Suu Kyi's 22 January
One obstacle to a restoration of democracy, and no doubt one of
the first topics to be discussed, is the so-called National
Convention. This body was set up by the military in 1993 to
rubber-stamp a military-drafted constitution which gives a
leading political role to the military and, in effect, excludes
Suu Kyi from political office. Not surprisingly, it is seen as a
device to repudiate once and for all the election results of 1990
when the Burmese people gave Suu Kyi's party, the NLD, 82 per
cent of the parliamentary seats.
This is a dangerous and delicate moment. Much depends on the
immediate response to Suu Kyi's release by the Burmese people and
different factions of the army. Much also depends on whether Aung
San Suu Kyi, after her six years of patient resistance, can
inspire a similar patience in the Burmese people. The majority of
Burmese, as they showed in the 1990 elections, want an end to
military rule, and may resent an extended transition to civilian
government. Another bloodbath would not significantly help
the process of national healing. 
According to Japanese sources there will be no restrictions on
Suu Kyi's activities, and a PA report of 10 July stated that "The
decision to lift the restriction order will allow the mother
-of-two to go anywhere and meet anyone just like an ordinary
citizen, as long as she does not violate any laws, officials
said."  What this will mean in practice is yet to be seen. A
plethora of restrictive Martial Law decrees is still in place.
For instance, since assemblies of five or more people are
forbidden, Suu Kyi would be breaking the law if she spoke to more
than three other people at the same time. Will SLORC enforce this
law?  Another crucial test of her freedom will be the degree to
which she is allowed to communicate with the Burmese people and
the rest of the world by press, radio and television, and whether
her writings are freely available and her phone line restored (or
indeed, if she so wishes, supplemented by extra lines for fax and
email, and a secretariat). 
So far there has been no announcement that the other political
detainees will be released, though this was one of the moves
which Suu Kyi urged in her 11 July statement. Fighting still
continues between the Burmese military and the Karenni, following
the breaking of the cease-fire by the Burmese at the end of June.
Refugees continue to stream into Thailand on account of the
We believe that the good offices mission of the Secretary-
General has made a significant contribution to the release of
Aung San Suu Kyi. The solution to Burma's problems must of course
be a Burmese solution, but the experience, authority and
guarantees offered by the United Nations can be an important
element in what could still be a long and difficult process.
The transition to a peaceful and democratic Burma will not be
easy or rapid, and the international pressure which contributed
to Suu Kyi's release must be maintained. This will discourage
backsliding on the part of the military, and give more leverage
to the democracy movement. The international community must keep
up pressure at the General Assembly and the Commission on Human
Rights. Calls for corporate withdrawal and economic sanctions
(including US Senator Mitch McConnell's sanction bill) should
continue until such time as Aung San Suu Kyi and other
representatives of the Burmese people request otherwise. (It was
two years after his release that Nelson Mandela asked for the
lifting of sanctions against South Africa.) The rebuilding of
the ruined Burmese economy requires substantial international
assistance, but, as Aung San Suu Kyi stated in her Manila speech,
read out by Corazon Aquino: 
"It is not enough merely to provide the poor with material
assistance. They  have to be sufficiently empowered to change
their perception of  themselves as helpless and ineffectual in an
uncaring world....Democracy as a political system  which aims at
empowering the people is essential if sustained human
development, which is "development of the people for the people
by the  people", is to be achieved."
David Arnott's development of Jo Silverstein's analysis:
1) The generals are caught in a vicious circle: despite its
enormous economic and human potential, Burma is classified as one
of the poorest countries in the world, and things are getting
worse. A major factor in Burma's impoverishment is the 50 or so
per cent of the national budget that goes on military
expenditure. However, as a profoundly unpopular regime, SLORC
feels it cannot reduce its military spending or else, it fears,
the people might rise again. SLORC's use of military means to
control the people is one of the main reasons for its
unpopularity. A classical vicious circle with economic and
political aspects. One of the points in Sr.Gen. Than Shwe's
letter to Aung San Suu Kyi (see 11 July Press Statement,
attached) is that he would like her "to help towards achieving
peace and stability in the country".
The release of Aung San Suu Kyi will help SLORC:
   A) Economically: The economy is in acute crisis despite the
   Chinese gutting and re-building of Mandalay and Rangoon
   (Yunanese and Singaporean respectively) and is in urgent
   need of international assistance. The Japanese and others
   have told SLORC that the release of Suu Kyi is the key to
   the international (or at least the Japanese) treasure
   chest. According to the BBC World Service (00.hrs 11 July)
   Japan, immediately Suu Kyi's release was reported, 
   announced its intention to renew lending to Burma. The "New
   York Times" of 11 July speaks of the possibility, now Suu
   Kyi is free, of the renewal of World Bank and IMF loans.
     Suu Kyi's release could also weaken the chances of the
   US Senate sanctions bill and other punitive legislation and
   campaigns. The mere tabling of a sanctions bill in the US
   Senate weakens investor confidence, and might threaten the
   expected gas bonanza.
   B) Politically: The country is also a political disaster.
   SLORC has almost no popular support within the country, and
   keeping people down by fear is always a precarious and
   insecure undertaking. The generals need Aung San Suu Kyi
   for the legitimacy and popular support she enjoys.  
   C) Regionally: Aung San Suu Kyi's release will help SLORC
   win increased economic and diplomatic support at ASEAN (due
   to meet on the 21st July), ultimately leading to
2) In terms of the civil war and internal military control, SLORC
feels at the peak of its power. Things might decline from now on
for various reasons including, in the cities, increased unrest
over Chinese commercial dominance, and in the rural areas,
increasing poverty and malnutrition. Also, Ne Win is still alive
(we assume) and this fact gives a measure of cohesion to the army
(Gen Khin Nyunt told U Rewata Dhamma that the army might split if
Suu Kyi were released. This danger would clearly be increased
after the Old Man's death)
4) Thus far unknown power issues within SLORC (the oscillation of
SLORC attitudes towards Aung San Suu Kyi over the past year have
been quite dramatic, and may indicate a bitter debate within
5) Numerological factors I do not have the knowledge to calculate
The generals therefore took a calculated risk and chose their
It has always been the firm conviction of those working for
democracy in Burma that it is only through meaningful dialogue
between diverse political forces that we can achieve national
reconciliation, which is the first and most vital requirement for
a united and prosperous country.  That the international
community shares this view is evident from clause 5 of the
General Assembly resolution of December 1994 which encourages the
government of Burma to engage in "a substantive political
dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders,
including representatives from ethnic groups, as the best means
of promoting national reconciliation and the full and early
restoration of democracy".
It was in full acceptance of this view and with genuine good will
that I approached the meetings with members of the State Law and
Order Restoration Council on 20 September and 28 October 1994. 
There has not been and there will not be any secret deals with
regard either to my release or to any other issue.  I adhere to
the principle of accountability and consider myself at all times
bound by the democratic duty to act in consultation with
colleagues and to be guided by the aspirations of those engaged
in the movement to establish a truly democratic political system
in Burma.  I remain dedicated to an active participation in this
Aung San Suu Kyi
22 January 1995
Statement of
JULY 11, 1995
one o'clock in the afternoon
54 University Avenue
The official intimation of the end of my house arrest was
conveyed to me verbally by Col. Kyaw Win in the form of a message
from Sr. Gen. Than Shwe which was kind and cordial.
There were three points to the message apart from the ending of
my house arrest; 
(1) they would be happy to help me in matters of personal
(2) if I wished, the authorities would continue to take care of
security arrangements; and 
(3) he would like me to help towards achieving peace and
stability in the country.
First of all, I would like to say I appreciate deeply both the
tone and content of the message.  I have always believed that the
future stability and happiness of our nation depends entirely on
the readiness of all parties to work for reconciliation.
During the years that I spent under house arrest, many parts of
the world have undergone almost unbelievable change.  And all
changes for the better were brought about through dialogue.  So
dialogue has been undoubtedly the key to a happy resolution of
long-festering problems.  Once bitter enemies in South Africa are
now working together for the betterment of their peoples.  Why
can't we look forward to a similar process?  We have to choose
between dialogue or utter devastation.  I would like to believe
that the human instinct for survival alone, if nothing else,
would eventually lead all of us to prefer dialogue.
Your may ask what are we going to talk about once we reach the
negotiation table.
Establishment of certain principles?  
Recognition of critical objectives to be achieved? 
Joint approaches to the ills besetting the country would be the
main items on the agenda. 
Extreme viewpoints are not confined to any particular group, and
it is the responsibility of the leaders to control such elements
as threaten the spirit of conciliation.  There is more in common
between the authorities and we of the democratic forces than
existed between the black and white people of South Africa.  The
majority of the people of Burma believe in the market economy and
democracy, as was amply proved by the results of the elections
of 1990. Those of you who read the Burmese papers will know that
it is the aim of the SLORC to return power to the people.  This
is exactly our aim as well.
I would like to take this opportunity to urge the authorities to
release those of us who still remain in prison.  I am happy to be
able to say that in spite of all that they have undergone, the
forces of democracy in Burma remain strong and dedicated.  I on
my part bear no resentment towards anybody for anything that
happened during the last six years.
This statement can only end in one way:  with an expression of
sincere thanks to people all over the world and especially to my
countrymen who have done so much to strengthen my resolve and to
effect my release.
The Burma Peace Foundation was established in 1987 to work for
reconciliation within Burma. FREE SUU KYI, FREE BURMA has been
campaigning for the unconditional release of Nobel Peace Laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi since 1991. 
Burma Peace Foundation, FREE SUU KYI, FREE BURMA 
David Arnott, 777, UN Plaza, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel (+1-212) 338 0048; Fax 692 9748; Email darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx