Monday, March 12, 2007

Bill Richardson (1995): mediator in the case of Aung San Suu Kyi

From the archives of the New York Times, comes this story on Representative Richardson:
American Doubtful On Burmese Thaw

May 30, 1995

The American congressman who has become a key mediator in negotiating the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the dissident leader and Nobel Prize laureate, warned today there had been "major retrenchment on human rights and democratic initiatives" by the junta that runs Myanmar, formerly Burma.

The congressman, Representative Bill Richardson, Democrat of New Mexico, said he believed that the Burmese junta would continue to hold Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi after her detention order expires on July 11, more than six years after she was placed under house arrest in a crackdown on the democratic movement here.

"My meeting here could not have been more negative," Mr. Richardson said after a meeting with junta leaders. "My conclusion is that they will not release her."

In February 1994, Mr. Richardson and a group of American officials and a reporter became the first foreigners outside her family to meet with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi since she was placed under house arrest. On his return to Myanmar this week, his request to meet her again was denied.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a democratic activist who opposed the military junta in Burma (Myanmar). Placed under house arrest in 1989, her party won the popular vote overwhelmingly in 1990. The military rulers refused to accept the results and she has been under varying degrees of house arrest ever since.

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