Tuesday, November 9, 2010

President Obama says Myanmar junta 'stole' election

NEW DELHI - U.S. President Barack Obama Monday accused the Myanmar junta of stealing the weekend election in the military-ruled country, sharpening his earlier criticism of the vote.
Citing Myanmar as an example of a country where a "bankrupt regime" imprisoned opponents and gunned down protesters, he said it was incumbent on all democracies to condemn repressive regimes.
"It is unacceptable to steal an election, as the regime in Burma (Myanmar) has done again for all the world to see," he said in a speech at the Indian parliament.
He also criticized his hosts for sometimes failing to speak out sufficiently for the rights of the repressed.
"If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from these issues," he said.
Once a staunch supporter of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement, India began engaging the junta in the mid-1990s as security, energy and strategic priorities came to the fore.
Myanmar's election was strongly criticized by Western governments because of widespread complaints of intimidation and the detention of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
India has made no statement on the election, which Obama condemned on Sunday as neither free nor fair.