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Public Statements

Burma

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply concerned about the international community's recent trust in assurances that Burma is opening up to the world and becoming a true democracy in which the rights of all people in Burma are protected. There have been some positive steps taken recently by the dictators, however, until we see permanency in these changes, we would all do well to remain deeply cautious.

* One important issue the Secretary of State addressed during her visit this week to Burma regarded the attacks by the dictatorship's troops against the ethnic minorities. It is vital, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that leaders of the various ethnic groups be included in any and all discussions, dialogue and decision about the future of Burma. I would call your attention to the call by the U.N. for a tri-partite dialogue--all three parties, the dictatorship, the democracy groups and the ethnic groups, must be included fully in all negotiations and agreements in order for true change to come to Burma. This is even more important when, during this visit and the recent ASEAN meetings, the dictatorship was violently attacking one or more ethnic groups.

* A few years ago, I submitted a Statement for this Record describing the Advanced Light Helicopters that India sold to Burma. The dictators of Burma used these, plus other military hardware sold to them by a variety of nations against the ethnic minority civilian populations. The brutality of Burma's Generals against the ethnic minorities has not stopped, even during this time when they are allegedly making democratic reforms. Therefore, we as a democratic, free nation must be extremely careful of what the Generals are really up to--they haven't proven themselves trustworthy in the past.

* I would like to submit for the Record, a short letter to the Secretary from Ms. Zipporah Sein, Secretary General of the Karen National Union.

* I urge the Secretary of State, when engaging in further dialogues with the Burmese government, to proceed with the utmost caution.

Office of the Supreme Headquarters, Karen National Union, Kawthoolei,

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