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US Appeals for International Access to Burmese Opposition Leader - 2003-09-04

The United States appealed Thursday for international access to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi so that the state of her health can be determined for sure. Burmese authorities have denied U.S. assertions that the detained democracy advocate is on a hunger strike.

Spokesman Richard Boucher says the State Department was acting on credible information when it said earlier this week that Aung San Suu Kyi, in detention for more than three months, has begun a hunger strike. And he says if the report is untrue, as Burmese authorities insist, then the military government should remove all doubts by freeing the democracy leader or allowing international observers to see her.

"The junta in Burma can easily and unambiguously resolve all these concerns and reports, and resolve any questions by releasing her, and before that fact, allowing international access," he said.

Burmese officials have said Aung San Suu Kyi was detained for her own protection after a May 30 clash between her supporters and pro-government youths, and will be freed when the political climate cools. She was last visited by International Red Cross officials in late July.