MANILA, Philippines -- The United States, the United Kingdom, and France on Monday jointly issued a statement pressuring the junta in Myanmar to restore democracy and improve the human-rights situation there.
The statement, e-mailed to media outfits, of Foreign Secretaries Condoleezza Rice of the US, David Miliband of the UK, and Bernard Kouchner of France highlighted the ?urgent need? for transition in the country known also as Burma.
?The fact that we have chosen to write about this issue, with so many competing priorities, should underline the strength of our governments? determination to support the people of Burma in their pursuit of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future,? the secretaries of three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council said.
The others are China and Russia.
Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a similar statement.
?We have repeatedly made clear that the situation in Burma cannot continue, and that we remain committed to helping the people of Burma,? they added.
The statement, issued from the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also called on all participants to the forum to show support for the Burmese people?s fight for democracy.
?We call on all those attending the World Economic Forum to demonstrate that, while the regime may be indifferent to the suffering of the Burmese people, the world is not,? they said.
?A unified call for genuine and peaceful political reconciliation and reform will be heard in Burma. We would not live up to our values if we ignored Burma's plight,? they added.
The three Western powers asked forum participants to support the return to Myanmar by UN Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari as soon as possible and to urge the regime to cooperate fully with him and the UN.
Apart from reiterating their demand to release all political prisoners, including Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, they also called on the ruling regime to act on the recommendations of UN Human Rights Envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and to launch ?a substantive, time-bound dialogue with democratic leaders and ethnic minority representatives.?
These demands were also made by Aung San Suu Kyi in a statement on November 8.
The three Western powers noted that it has been more than four months ?since the world was horrified by the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Burma. The dramatic pictures seen around the world of the brutality directed against peaceful protestors, including monks and nuns, were truly shocking.
?We cannot afford to forget. We must convince the Burmese regime to meet the demands of the international community and respect the basic rights of Burma's people,? they said.
They also expressed doubts about the junta?s claims it is moving ahead with its roadmap to civilian rule.
?The process, already 14 years old, is open-ended, and many key political actors, not least Aung San Suu Kyi, are excluded,? they said.
?There can be little doubt that only genuine and inclusive dialogue can deliver national reconciliation and stability for Burma and its neighbors,? they added.