Philippines backs US condemnation of Burma

July 31, 2009 (DVB), Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday said her country backed the United States in its condemnation of the Burmese junta, prior to today's would-be verdict on the Aung San Suu Kyi trial.

Arroyo was at the White House yesterday to discuss with US president Barack Obama the political crisis in Burma as well as fears over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"We stand … behind the United States on the position that it has taken with regard to Burma and with regard to North Korea’s nuclear adventurism," she told Reuters.

Obama replied that the US was grateful for its support and praised the Philippines for "[punching] above its weight" in the international arena.

In April, Arroyo hailed the Philippines' democratic transition as a model for Burma and urged the ruling junta to follow the political reforms carried out by her administration that signaled the end of military rule in the Philippines.

A statement released in May by the Philippines foreign affairs secretary, Alberto G Romulo, said the country was "deeply troubled and outraged" by the "trumped up" charges faced by Suu Kyi.

"These recent incidents will surely impede the process of national reconciliation and the Roadmap to Democracy in Myanmar," it said.

The trial, which has stretched over nearly three months, wrapped up on Monday with an announcement from the judges that a verdict would be delivered today.

It was announced this morning however that the verdict has been delayed until 11 August, while the court reviews certain legal issues surrounding the case.

The US has repeatedly condemned the trial, and earlier this week renewed its package of sanctions on the regime.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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