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Security Council To Review Burma

The United Nations Security Council has voted to schedule a formal review of Burma and the threat it poses to peace and security in Southeast Asia. The United States has pressed since late last year to have Burma formally placed on the council's agenda.

Some one-thousand-one-hundred pro-democracy activists are imprisoned in Burma. They include Aung San Suu Kyi, the founder of Burma's National League for Democracy and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Political prisoners in Burma also include National League for Democracy vice-chairman U Tin Oo and Hkun Htun Oo, leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.

In August, President Bush signed legislation renewing the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. The law, enacted in response to the Burmese military junta's continued refusal to democratize, extends a pre-existing ban on all imports from Burma to the United States.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U-N, said, it's important that the regime in Burma recognizes that the United Nations and others "are concerned about their practices."

"This is a major step forward for President Bush's effort to bring to the attention of the international community the situation inside Burma, and its effects in its region and around the world – what we see as a threat to international peace and security because of the flows of refugees, illicit narcotics, H-I-V/AIDS and the human rights situation inside Burma."

In a written statement, the State Department said, the United States "maintains its position that a meaningful political dialogue between the Burmese authorities and the democratic opposition leaders and representatives of the ethnic groups is the only path to a solution of Burma's crisis."

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it, as long as the people of Burma remain oppressed "there can be no business as usual in Southeast Asia."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.