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US First Lady, British PM Call for Change in Burma

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined others Tuesday calling for the release of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and change in the military-ruled country.

In an official statement, Mr. Blair said he is deeply saddened that Aung San Suu Kyi is spending another birthday under house arrest. He said her release could mark the beginning of a new chapter for Burma and could promote national reconciliation.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Mrs. Bush criticized ongoing abuses in Burma such as torture, forced child labor and rape.

However, she also noted that there is reason for hope as a new generation of dissidents in Burma continues to call for Aung San Suu Kyi's release and seeks to advance the country's peaceful transition to democracy.

Mrs. Bush said her husband is looking forward to signing a bill that renews sanctions against Burma. She also said that she will be meeting with the United Nations Tuesday to discuss what the international community can do to hold Burma's generals accountable.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.