British PM salutes Suu Kyi on 65th birthday

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British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday as she marked her 65th birthday under house arrest.

In an open letter to Suu Kyi, Cameron described the Nobel laureate as "a powerful symbol of the strength of the human spirit" and promised that Britain's coalition government would "do all it can ... to bring a brighter future for Burma (Myanmar)".

In the letter released by Cameron's office, the British leader wrote: "Today you will mark yet another birthday under house arrest -- cut off from your children and your family. My thoughts, and thoughts of so many people in Britain and across the world, will be with you and with the people of Burma. "The injustice of your continuing detention mirrors the injustice that the regime has inflicted on your country and your people for so many years. Throughout that time, you have stood firm, at enormous personal cost, for the principles of liberty and justice.

"You have become a powerful symbol of the strength of the human spirit ... I personally have long found your example deeply inspiring. I want to assure you that as Prime Minister, I will maintain a close interest in Burma.

"The British Government I lead will do all it can, both internationally, working through the United Nations, and bilaterally, to bring a brighter future for Burma and your people, in which they enjoy full human rights and true democracy.

"I have never forgotten your own request: that we should use our liberty to help the Burmese people to obtain theirs. I promise we will do everything we can to achieve that," Cameron added.

The military regime has kept Suu Kyi in detention for almost 15 years and she has been barred from running in upcoming elections that critics have denounced as a sham aimed at entrenching the generals' power.

Suu Kyi's party won the last polls in 1990 but was never allowed to take office. A UN working group this week pronounced her detention a breach of international human rights law, prompting new calls for her release.

© 2010 AFP

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