December 11, 2001

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s offer to meet with the Burmese regime.
“The Burmese Generals need to realise that they and the people of Burma can win peace and freedom together” said John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign. “We hope the international stature of Archbishop Desmond Tutu can help them see sense – that national reconciliation is in everyone’s interest.”
Archbishop Tutu responded to a statement issued yesterday by the military junta in a letter released from Oslo. “It is heartening to learn of your belief that we share ‘the common objective of creating Myanmar to become a functioning democracy’ and that ‘we are in the process of ‘joining hands walking on the same path toward our common objective.’ wrote Archbishop Tutu, quoting from the government’s statement. “We sincerely believe that this path can be made more open by your willingness to agree to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political detainees immediately.”
The South African Nobel Peace Laureate called for a meeting in Rangoon as soon as possible to address what the military government described as a “misunderstanding” with Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy. “We are of the strong belief that misunderstanding can best be resolved through open and respectful dialogue”,
Archbishop Tutu wrote, “We are willing to support this process in any way. To do so, we would like to meet you at your earliest convenience.”
For more information contact John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK, on 020 7281 7377
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU’S LETTER TO REGIME
11 December 2001
Senior General Than Swe
State Peace and Development Council
Ministry of Defense
Signal Pagoda Road
Yangon, Myanmar
Dear General Than Swe,
We were gratified to learn of your public statements in response to our call for the release of our colleague Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, full respect for the human rights of the citizens of your country and agreement to extend confidence building talks with Aung San Suu Kyi to include dialogue with the leaders of political parties and ethnic minorities.
It is heartening to learn of your belief that we are all on “the winning side” in that we share “the common objective of creating Myanmar to become a fully functioning democracy.” Your statement declared: “Today we are in the process of joining hands walking on the same path toward our common objective while successfully maintaining the hard-won peace stability and national unity.”
We are concerned with the misunderstanding that you report exists between the National League for Democracy and the Government of Myanmar. We are of the strong belief that misunderstandings can best be resolved through open and respectful dialogue. We are willing and prepared to support this process in any way. To do so, we would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience. We respectfully request that you agree to welcome a delegation of Nobel Peace Laureates to your country so that we might meet with you and your colleagues as well as with our colleague, Aung San Suu Kyi.
We sincerely believe that the “path toward our common objective” to which you refer can be made more open by your willingness to agree to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political detainees immediately. It will also be enhanced by your agreement to move forward with a genuine and substantive dialogue that includes leaders of political parties and ethnic minorities with the aim of achieving national reconciliation and the restoration of democracy.
Such action will not only move your nation closer to realizing the common goal of a fully functioning democracy, but also to considerably enhancing your standing in the world. We look forward to supporting you in this process and to the full integration of Burma into the international community.
Sincerely and respectfully yours,
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu


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