Britain calls Aung San Suu Kyi's release 'long overdue'

13th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the release Saturday of Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was "long overdue", branding her detention a "travesty".

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the country's regime now needed to begin a "genuine dialogue" with her and she should be allowed to take "a role of her choosing" in Myanmar's political life.

He also slammed last week's "sham elections" in Myanmar, from which Aung San Suu Kyi was excluded.

Cameron said in a brief statement: "This is long overdue. Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration for all of us who believe in freedom of speech, democracy and human rights.

"Her detention was a travesty, designed only to silence the voice of the Burmese people. Freedom is Aung San Suu Kyi's right. The Burmese regime must now uphold it."

Hague said Suu Kyi's release should kick-start the resolution of Myanmar's "many problems".

"Aung San Suu Kyi's arbitrary detention for most of the last 20 years has been deeply unjust," he said in a statement.

"Her fortitude in the face of this outrage has been inspirational. I welcome news of her release.

"She must now be allowed to assume a role of her choosing in the political life of her country without further hindrance or restriction."

He added: "Last week's sham elections will not bring peace and prosperity to Burma.

"The regime now needs to release the other 2,100 political prisoners and begin a genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and all opposition and ethnic groups.

"These remain the crucial first steps to solving Burma's many problems and addressing the pressing needs of its people."

Britain is the former colonial power in Myanmar. The country achieved its independence as Burma in 1948.

© 2010 AFP

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