Minister Dick Roche Calls for Change in Burma to at the EU-ASEAN Summit, Singapore, 22 November 2007
In a strongly - worded statement delivered at the EU-ASEAN Summit in Singapore today, Mr Dick Roche, TD, Minister for European Affairs, spoke of the outrage felt by the Government and people of Ireland at the killing, beating and detention of monks and unarmed civilians by the Burmese military regime in September, and called on ASEAN and the international community to continue to exert all possible influence and pressure to ensure that the momentum for change in that country is maintained.
Speaking in the presence of the Heads of Government of the Association of South East Asian Nations, including the new Prime Minister of Burma, Thein Sein, Minister Roche said:
“The events that took place in Burma/Myanmar in September, involving extreme violence against monks and peaceful protestors, shocked people of all nations around the world – including in my own country of Ireland. They united ASEAN, the EU, and the international community in expressing outrage and revulsion at the actions of Burma/Myanmar’s military regime and in calling for urgent action to stop the repression, and to start of genuine process of national dialogue and reconciliation.’
The statements made by ASEAN leaders, and the role ASEAN played in the wake of these horrific events, have been of great importance in terms of easing the immediate crisis, facilitating the visits of UN Special Adviser Gambari and UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Pinheiro, and in the initiation of a dialogue process between the regime and opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The people of Burma/Myanmar, like people everywhere, have made clear their desire for freedom, justice, democracy and development. There is no going back to the situation as it was before.
The aspirations of the people can be realised if we the international community, stand firmly together in support of the mission of the UN Secretary General and Professor Gambari, and of an effective, time-bound, inclusive process of national dialogue and reconciliation.A window of opportunity to bring about democratic change in Burma now exists and the momentum generated to date must not be lost. To facilitate the dialogue process, it is essential that all political detainees, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, be released without delay’.
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