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                   Statement of Madeleine K. Albright
              United Sates Ambassador to the United Nations
                            September 9, 1995

I m pleased I was able to visit Burma on my trip to the region.
During, my visit, I had meetings with LTG Khin Nyunt, a key
member of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), U
Ohn Gyaw, the Foreign Minister, and representatives of United
Nations agencies active in the country. I was also honored to be
hosted at a breakfast by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize Winner
and the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement.

In all my meetings, I affirmed the strong support of the United
States for progress towards genuine freedom and democracy in
Burma and respect for human rights of the Burmese people. While
welcoming the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and some other
political prisoners, I said that fundamental change in U.S.
policy towards Burma would depend on fundamental change in the
SLORC's treatment of the Burmese people. Towards this end, I
urged SLORC officials to begin a meaningful dialogue with Aung
San Suu Kyi and other democratic leaders for the purpose of
reconciliation and broadening the space for political discussion
within the country.

In my two- hour meeting with Gen. Khin Nyunt, I delivered a tough
message, telling him that his country's isolation would only
deepen unless concrete steps towards political freedom were
taken. I urged the SLORC to choose the path of true democracy,
rather than continued repression and dictatorial control. I said
that the democratic path may seem harder and more risky, but a
bright future for Burma cannot be shaped without the
participation of the Burmese people.

I urged repeatedly that a dialogue be initiated with Aung San Suu
Kyi? and did not accept Khin Nyunt's characterization of the
National Convention as a meaningful process for dialogue. In this
regard, we were modestly encouraged to hear that the SLORC is now
considering the possibility of engaging in a political dialogue
with Aung San Suu Kyi. But my government does not believe that
such a dialogue should be delayed any longer. As Aung San Suu Kyi
put it later, "the sooner the dialogue begins the better."

Khin Nyunt expressed the belief that the SLORC had broad public
support, and observed that the Burmese people smile a lot. I said
that it has been my experience, in a lifetime of studying,
repressive societies, that dictators often delude themselves into
believing they have popular support, but that people often smile
not because they are happy, but because they are afraid. The
future of Burma must be built on hope, not fear.

During the meeting, I also stressed, more generally, U.S. concern
with respect to human rights, including the need for the further
release of political prisoners, an end to the attacks on ethnic
minorities, an end to forced labor and forced porterage, and the
value of allowing the International Committee of Red Cross to
visit prisons within the country.

In the areas of counter-narcotics, I noted the steps taken by the
SLORC, including cooperation with U.S. on customs training and
conducting opium yield surveys. But I also urged that government
step up efforts to eliminate opium cultivation and trafficking.

I was particularly pleased to exchange views on the situation in
Burma with Aung San Suu Kyi, in her role as representative of
democratic forces in is country. Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed the
news of my straightforward discussion with Khin Nyunt on the
importance of beginning a dialogue with those forces as the first
step to bringing the country back to the community of democratic
nations. She reiterated to me her well-known readiness to begin
that dialogue quickly. The international community did not call
for her release from house arrest simply so that the gate to her
compound could be opened and friends could visit. It was on the
assumption that she would then be allowed to begin work on the
goals that she has so bravely pursued as representative of the
democratic opposition.

We also discussed the continue importance of keeping the
attention of the international community focused on the situation
in Burma. We agreed on the particular importance, as the 50th
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) opens this month, that the
resolution on the situation on human rights in Burma reflect
accurately the situation on the ground here. The government's
release of Aung San Suu Kyi was just one of many steps the UNGA
called on the government to take. It is now time to take the many
other steps necessary to restore democracy in accordance with the
will of the people as expressed in the democratic elections held
in 1990. I promised Aung San Suu Kyi that I would work toward
that goal upon my return to New York.

In summary, I believe this was a successful visit in making fully
clear America's position with respect to the future of our
relations with Burma. America stands ready to develop friendly
and constructive relations with the Burmese government, but that
can occur when and only when fundamental progress towards
democracy and respect for basic for human rights is achieved. The
SLORC faces a choice between its present isolation and
reintegration into the international community. As a result of my
visit, the SLORC leadership can have no doubt about what it must
do. The choice is theirs.

Place: Oriental Hotel, Bangkok
Date : September 9, 1995

(Typing: contributed by the ABSDF)