News / Asia

US Senator Urges Burma to Free Political Prisoners

U.S. Senator John McCain talks to reporters during a news conference at the American Centre in Rangoon, June 3, 2011
U.S. Senator John McCain talks to reporters during a news conference at the American Centre in Rangoon, June 3, 2011

U.S. Senator John McCain, ending a three-day visit to Burma, called on the government to free its more than 2,000 political prisoners and quickly implement democratic reforms.

McCain told a news conference Friday that it was clear from his meetings with top officials that Burma wants closer relations with the United States.  However, he said an improvement would depend on concrete actions from Burma.

The senator told reporters that one test of Burma's commitment to reform will be its ability to ensure the safety and human rights of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

McCain also urged Burma to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions on weapons non-proliferation and cut any military cooperation with North Korea.

McCain met Thursday in Rangoon with Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.  After the meeting, the opposition leader voiced satisfaction with the discussion.

On Wednesday, McCain met win the administrative capital of Naypyidaw with Vice President Aung Mynt Oo, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and other officials.

In advance of his visit, McCain also visited the biggest refugee camp for Burmese in Thailand at Mae Sot.  Tens of thousands of refugees are there waiting either to return home or to be resettled elsewhere.

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