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Myanmar polls can’t be free with oppressive regime: US

The United States has said that Myanmar`s planned November 7 general elections cannot be "inclusive or credible" without release of all political prisoners in the country.

Updated: Aug 14, 2010, 13:57 PM IST

Washington: The United States has said that Myanmar`s planned November 7 general elections cannot be "inclusive or credible" without release of all political prisoners in the country.

The November 7 general elections announced by the military junta, without release of all political prisoners, and creating a condition of free participation of people and political parties, could not be considered, Obama Administration has said.

"We remain concerned about the lack of a level playing field and the oppressive political environment in Burma. This election can not be inclusive or credible under current circumstances," the State Department deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, told a newswire.

"We urge the authorities to release all political prisoners and to enter into genuine dialogue with all stake holders as a first step towards national reconciliation," Toner said.

A senior Republican lawmaker, Mitch McConnell, called the announcement of election date as a "mockery" of the democratic process and asked the US President Barrack Obama to renew his support for the pro-democracy leaders in Burma.

"Although the Burmese junta will characterise the charade it announced today as an election --an exercise that only the junta considers meaningful-- November 7, 2010 will be just another day in Burma, marked by continued government oppression and hardship for its people," he said.

"I urge President Obama to renew his support for Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy forces within Burma and work to ensure that elements of the international community are not tempted to recognise this mockery of the democratic process," McConnell said.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, called on Burmese authorities to honour their publicly stated commitments to hold inclusive, free and fair elections in order to advance the prospects of peace, democracy and development for Myanmar.

"As the United States and the United Nations fail to exercise effective pressure on the regime, the generals in Burma are now confident that the international community can`t and won`t do anything beyond issuing statements to stop their crimes against humanity and plan to build a permanent military dictatorship in the country," said Aung Din of the US Campaign for Burma.

"That`s why they are now moving forward to hold the sham election. Even they can`t stop the regime`s plot and atrocities, at least the United States and the UN should denounce and reject the regime`s election," Aung Din said.

PTI