Fri 28 Apr 2006
Filed under: International,News
Eric John, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific has talked of the â€œhorrific descent of the situation in Burma,â€ in an interview with The Irrawaddy on Friday.
John pointed to Burma’s reportedly worsening HIV/AIDS pandemic, the recent outbreak of bird flu in the country and a â€œmisguided, armed leadershipâ€ as the main examples of the slide. He repeated that Burma presents a danger both to itself as well as the region, and should therefore be referred to the UN Security Council.
â€œNothing is getting better, things are only getting worse,â€ he said in the interview at The Irrawaddy’s office in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
He was positive about Asean’s recent increased concern about Burma’s continuing political deadlock and failure to move towards democracy. John described this as â€œunique in Asean’s history.â€
John said that the onus remained on the region to keep the pressure on Burma, but also warned that Washington would continue to push the Burma issue at the UNSC. The US has led the effort to address Burma at the UNSC, which culminated in an informal briefing on the situation to members in December.
The senior state department official refuted claims by Burma’s Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan on Wednesday that detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is linked to terrorists.
â€œThe NLD is not a terrorist groupâ€¦it is just a group that wants to help give a voice to the Burmese people,â€ he added.
On the new Burmese administrative capital, Pyinmana, John was emphatic that the US would not relocate its embassy to what he called an â€œillegitimate capital,â€ describing the move as a â€œsad ego project.â€
There was, however, bad news for the many Burmese both inside and outside the country waiting for the US to do to Burma what it did to Iraq under the former dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
â€œWe’re not going to attack Burma,â€ John said, which was good news for the ruling Burmese generals rumored to be fear such an invasion.