WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said on Thursday that the Obama administration will continue to push for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity in Burma.
“I would like to underscore the American commitment to seek accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred in Burma by working to establish an international Commission of Inquiry through close consultations with our friends, allies, and other partners at the United Nations,” Clinton said in a speech in Honolulu, Hawai, at the start of a tour of the Asia-Pacific region.
“Burma will soon hold a deeply flawed election, and one thing we have learned over the last few years is that democracy is more than elections,” Clinton said. “We will make clear to Burma’s new leaders, old and new alike, that they must break from the policies of the past.”
Her remarks echoed a statement earlier this month by US State Department spokesman P J Crowley, who said Washington was watching events in Burma and hoped “that a new government will take a different approach than it has in the past.”
Responding to questions about the possible release of Aung San Suu Kyi, indicated by the Burmese Foreign Minister, Crowley characterized this as a “craven” manipulation by the junta.
“How transparent a manipulation is that?” he said. “There are elections coming up in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues should have been free to participate fully in this electoral process and to vote in this process. So this is a craven manipulation by Burma.”
Crowley added: “How convenient that they are hinting that she might be released after an election that is unlikely to be fair, free or credible.
“Burma knows what it has to do. It has to open up its political space for Aung San Suu Kyi and others to participate fully in the politics of Burma. It has to release its political prisoners, all of them. And it has to have meaningful dialogue with all elements of Burmese society.”
Meanwhile, the White House confirmed that Burma would be discussed when President Obama meets the leaders of India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan during the Asian tour he is to make next month.
“I'm sure we'll also consult closely with the Indonesians on issues such as Iran, where they have influence; on South China Sea, counter-terrorism, and Burma,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.
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