The statement from the US secretary of state may indicate a tougher stand in the Obama administration, which after coming to power had shown earlier signs of considering a softer approach towards the Burmese junta, announcing a review of the US policy on Burma.
Clinton herself had gone on record to say that US economic sanctions against Burma had not worked.
However, the ongoing trial against Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, appears to have resulted in a tougher stand from the US.
“We reject their (junta’s) baseless charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, their continuing resistance to a free and open electoral process,” Clinton told senators at a hearing on Wednesday, in reply to a question while testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State and Foreign Affairs.
“If they stay on the track they're on, their elections in 2010 will be totally illegitimate and without any meaning in the international community,” Clinton said in a warning to the Burmese military.
Referring to the ongoing review of its Burma policy, Clinton said: “We are absolutely committed to trying to come up with an approach that might influence the regime.”
A senator asked if it was time for the US to take more affirmative actions to try to influence the military regime.
Clinton said there are several countries that have influence on the Burmese junta. “We are going to try to do our best to influence them to see that this repressive regime is not one that we should continue to support, and hopefully get a greater international base to take action against them,” she said.
Referring to the response the US has received from these countries, Clinton said: “I have been heartened by the response that we have received. I have spoken to a number of the foreign secretaries of Asean countries, who've issued strong statements.”
The United States is working to get more support in the United Nations, Clinton said.