Release Suu Kyi: Obama to Myanmar junta

Release Suu Kyi: Obama to Myanmar junta


President Barack ObamaSuu Kyi, the leader of the National League of Democracy, has been under house arrest for more than 14 years. She is the only imprisoned Nobel laureate.

"The President is pleased that Senator Webb has facilitated the release of American citizen John Yettaw from detention in Burma. He appreciates this decision by the Burmese Government," the White House said in a statement.

Yettaw was released following Senator Jim Webb's landmark talks with Myanmar's reclusive junta chief Than Shwe on August 16.

"The President also notes that in addition to meeting with head of state Than Shwe, Senator Webb was able to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first meeting by a US official with her for many years," the statement said.

"We urge the Burmese leadership in this spirit to release all the political prisoners it is holding in detention or in house arrest, including Aung San Suu Kyi," it said.

Yettaw was sentenced to seven years' hard labour by a Myanmar court for swimming to the lakeside house of Suu Kyi in May.

Meanwhile, ruling out any change in its Burma policy after Yettaw's release, the US State Department said it would be looking for positive signals from the Myanmar military regime with regard to democracy and human rights.

"We'll be looking for signs that Burma is fundamentally changing its approach and its policies," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told reporters in Washington.

Crowley said the Obama Administration does not think that the recent release of Yettaw by the military government was an indication in this regard.

"I don't think that this is by itself going to have an impact on our ongoing review," Crowley said when asked if the release would have any impact on the US' Burma policy.

"Obviously, as we look at the current situation, we remain very concerned about the continued detainment of Suu Kyi and more than 2,100 prisoners that are in detention."

"We continue to look for signs that the Burmese Government is prepared to embark on a meaningful dialogue with Aung Sun Suu Kyi, along with the rest of the democratic opposition," Crowley said.

He, however, said there was no time table for the ongoing review of its Burma policy and the US is keeping a close watch on the development there.

He said Clinton would meet Senator Webb after he returns as she look forward to having a fuller discussion with him to get his impressions following his meetings with the Myanmar leadership and Suu Kyi.