Powell calls for more pressure on Burma

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell is turning up pressure on Burma's military rulers over the detention of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

His comments, in a signed article published in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journaltoday, were the latest expression of international outrage over the treatment of the pro-democracy activist, who is now in her 13th day of detention.

"The junta that oppresses democracy in Burma must find that its actions will not be allowed to stand," he said in the commentary in which he called for financial measures against Burma's military rulers.

The junta took Ms Suu Kyi into what it called "protective" custody during a trip to the north on May 30th after a violent clash between her supporters and government henchmen.

"The administration agrees with members of the US Congress . . . that the time has come to turn up the pressure on the SPDC," Powell wrote, referring to Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council, the body that detained Ms Suu Kyi.

The US Senate voted 97-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill to ban all imports from the Southeast Asian nation in response Ms Suu Kyi's detention.

She and about two dozen senior members of her National League for Democracy have been held at locations in or outside the Burma capital, sources told journalists in Yangon. Some of the locations are undisclosed.

Mr Powell said that he would use a trip to Asia next week for an annual meeting of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Regional Forum to push Burma's neighbours to bring pressure to bear.