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Apr 3, 2008 (AP), A draft Security Council statement calls on Burma’s government to allow detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political actors to speak freely and hold meetings ahead of the May referendum on a new constitution, according to a copy obtained Wednesday.
The statement prepared by the United States, Britain and France, was obtained by The Associated Press on the day that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party urged voters to reject the military-backed draft constitution. The National League for Democracy said it was undemocratic and prepared under the junta’s direct control.
The statement is expected to be circulated to all 15 Security Council members in the coming days. It needs the approval of all members for the council to adopt it.
The draft statement "calls on the government of Myanmar to allow full participation of all political actors, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi" in the referendum process in order for it "to be inclusive and credible."
Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962. The current junta seized power in 1988 and refused to honor the results of a 1990 general election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is currently under house arrest, has been in detention without trial for more than 12 of the past 18 years.
Critics of the proposed constitution say it aims to perpetuate military rule.
The junta has been under strong international pressure to make democratic reforms, especially since it quashed peaceful pro-democracy protests last September. The UN estimates at least 31 people were killed and thousands more were detained in the crackdown.
The draft Security Council statement expresses regret at the military government’s "slow rate of progress" towards meeting the council’s call last September for a "genuine dialogue" with the pro-democracy opposition and the early release of all political prisoners and detainees.