The United States is deeply disappointed by today’s elections in Burma. The generals who have ruled the country for the past 22 years missed an opportunity to begin genuine transition toward democratic governance and national reconciliation.
The electoral process was severely flawed, precluded an inclusive, level playing field, and repressed fundamental freedoms. As a result, the elections were neither free nor fair. We were concerned by the regime’s refusal to allow international journalists and election observers to monitor or cover the voting. Reports of intentional Internet slowdowns, voter intimidation, and fraudulent “advance voting” schemes were also very troubling.
The United States stands steadfastly with the Burmese people who aspire for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Burma that respects human rights and the rule of law. To that end, we will continue to pursue parallel strategies of pressure and principled engagement. The United States remains open to future possibilities of dialogue with Burma's leaders. We will continue our call for respect for human rights, immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and dialogue toward national reconciliation. Absent progress on these core concerns, we will maintain rigorous sanctions against members of the regime and their supporters. We will continue to work closely with the international community, including at the United Nations and in other international forums such as ASEAN, to pursue accountability and bring an end to human rights abuses.
The United States is committed to helping the Burmese people through increased humanitarian assistance that targets those in desperate need and builds local capacity. Burma's leaders must come to realize--after five decades of sustained internal conflict, economic mismanagement, and international pariah status—that Burma needs a better way forward, a way that does not rely on suppression but rather strives to create a truly democratic and prosperous future for the Burmese people.