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Bush, Brown Call for Referendum Observers

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Bush, Brown Call for Referendum Observers

By LALIT K JHA / NEW YORK

Friday, April 18, 2008

US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday reiterated their commitment to restore democracy and human rights in Burma and called on the military government to invite international observers to the May 10 constitutional referendum.

The Burma issue was discussed during the meeting of the two leaders—among the most steadfast supporters of Burma’s pro-democracy movement—at the White House in Washington DC.

Emerging from the meeting with Bush, Brown told the media: “We reiterated our common stand on Burma, where it is important to repeat the call for reconciliation.” Details of the discussion were not released.

A US-sponsored draft of a presidential statement is pending for discussion in the UN Security Council and is expected to be opposed by Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, and supporters of the Burmese regime.

Commenting on the May 10 referendum on the draft constitution, a US National Security Council spokesman said: “They [Britain] are as concerned as we are about the process leading to the referendum—the fact that groups in Burma are not allowed to express their position on the referendum freely; the fact that the referendum is a flawed referendum at this point that bars certain people from even engaging and holding public office because they were married to foreigners, or are married to foreigners; the fact that the referendum and the constitution talk about 25 percent of the seats in the legislature being reserved for the military. You know, all of these things need a free and fair airing, and that’s not happening right now in Burma.”

He said the military junta should invite international monitors.

“The British have called for this, and we have called for this, and the UN has called for this,” he said.

“How can you make sure, in a place like Burma, where freedom has been so restricted, that the process of holding a referendum really is open,” he asked.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=11452

More articles:  

·      Pro-Junta Thugs Continue Attacks on Activists

·      Popular Burmese Rap Performer Arrested

·      Demonstrators Warned as Olympic Torch Arrives in Thailand

·      Leading Activist Suffers Eye Problems in Prison

·      Exile, Canadian-Style

·      Burmese Embassy in Singapore Prepares for Absentee Referendum Voting

·      European Parliament Calls for Pressure on Junta

·      More Suspects Arrested in Death of 54 Burmese Migrant Workers

·      Junta Begins ‘Vote Yes’ Campaign

·      Shan State Surveyed About Referendum

 

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

April 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm

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