Obama Statement on the Situation in Burma
For the last several days the world has watched the images of monks as they courageously and peacefully demand democracy in Burma - and the military junta's violent response. A regime that claims to be impervious to international criticism has moved to close off media and communications access to stem the flow of those images out of the country. The generals apparently believe that, without pictures, the world will eventually lose interest and move on. We must not allow this to happen.
I am pleased that the United Nations has dispatched Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Burma and that he has met with Aung San Suu Kyi. I hope he will persuade the junta to open a dialogue with the opposition, to release political prisoners, and to account for those who were killed or imprisoned in the last few days. Meanwhile, President Bush is right to try to increase pressure on Burma's repressive regime. I urge all nations, including the EU and Burma's neighbors, to cooperate in enforcing the financial sanctions the United States has imposed. The United States should also push for a UN Security Council Resolution to ban the provision of arms to Burma, and press China to help persuade the regime to begin a serious dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and those seeking democratic reform. We also should lead in charting a unified course with ASEAN, China, India, Japan, and the EU to forge a road map for change in Burma, and prevent the junta from playing countries off each other as they have in the past.
It is easy in this age to be cynical about the power of people to bring about change. But ordinary people armed with courage and hope are not powerless; they are history's mightiest force, even before the guns of a brutal regime. We must remain true to their cause and honor their bravery.