US says Myanmar is trying Suu Kyi for 'being polite'

WASHINGTON - The United States criticized Myanmar Wednesday, saying it had put opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on trial "for being polite."
The critique was delivered by the State Department's new communications director, PJ Crowley, who told reporters the United States wanted to promote "the concept of integration rather than the concept of isolation."

US says Myanmar is trying Suu Kyi for 'being polite'
"We'll be looking for countries that are acting as problem solvers, as opposed to countries that are acting as spoilers. We'll be looking for countries that empower people -- or not fear them," he said.
"I mean, that certainly is the situation in a country like Burma, for example, where this week you have a Nobel Peace Prize winner on trial for being polite."
Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the conditions of her house arrest after a bizarre incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home in May.
Authorities in Myanmar have accused Suu Kyi of covering up the American's presence and have rebuked her for offering him food and shelter.
The trial, the latest episode in a nearly two-decade test of wills between the pro-democracy champion and Myanmar's ruling junta, has provoked an international outcry.
But leaders have dismissed outside criticism, saying the trial was an internal matter. Suu Kyi has been deprived of her liberty for 13 of the last 19 years.
Crowley said the issue was "how nations will govern themselves in the 21st century."
"It's not for the United States to impose these solutions on countries such as Burma. In fact, for a country like Burma, if you're going to succeed in the 21st century, you have to empower your people. You can't be fearful of your people," he said.
"You should -- you'll find ways to promote the exchange of information, not find ways to hide it or to restrict it," he said.

Thursday, June 4th 2009

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