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Top US Diplomat Criticizes Detention of Burmese Opposition Leader

U.S. Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice has marked the 16th anniversary of democratic elections in Burma, which were disregarded by the country's military government.

She said the years have been tragic ones for the Burmese people, yet added their spirit has not been broken. She said their peaceful desire for liberty, dignity, and prosperity remains stronger than the forces of tyranny.

In 1990, the opposition National League for Democracy won popular elections - but the military government never stepped aside to allow the democratically-elected government to take power. Since 1990, it has held NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for a decade.

In her statement, Ms. Rice called for Aung San Suu Kyi's release. She also called for the Burmese government to end attacks on civilians, stop persecuting minorities, and return the country to democracy.

The United States is just one of the latest to speak out against Aung San Suu Kyi's imprisonment, which was extended by the government on Saturday. The European Union also condemned the move on Monday, saying it deplores the fact that international appeals for the leader's freedom have gone unheard.