Myanmar/Burma : new amnesty for political prisoners
Statement by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
On the eve of my visit to Myanmar/Burma – during which I will meet, among other people, President Thein Sein and Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi, the emblematic figure in the fight for democracy in that country and Nobel peace prizewinner – I would like to welcome the announcement of the release of 651 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
For France it is a positive signal, an important step towards the full release of all political prisoners – which we have constantly been calling for – and a factor in the national reconciliation process.
I am particularly delighted about the release – already confirmed – of eminent figures such as Mr Min Ko Naing, leader of the 88 Generation, Mr Khun Htun Oo, leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, and the monk U Gambira.
I also welcome the signature yesterday of a ceasefire between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union (KNU), another major step forward on the path of national reconciliation and respect for minorities. The cessation of hostilities between the Burmese army and ethnic armed groups is essential. France would like the humanitarian organizations to have immediate access to the people and would like dialogue to begin between the government and armed groups with a view to a political settlement, an essential step for Burma’s future.
This is the message of support and encouragement for the process of national reconciliation, democratization and the restoring of freedoms that I will convey, on France’s behalf, to all the authorities and figures I am going to meet in Burma./.