Myanmar: Annan praises Asian States for backing release of Aung San Suu Kyi

12 December 2005

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today commended the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) for its call on Myanmar to “expedite” both its political reform efforts and its release of political detainees, including democracy activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

That call was made during ASEAN’s 11th Summit in Kuala Lumpur, along with an announcement that the organization will send Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar to Myanmar to learn first-hand whether the country is making steps toward democracy. Mr. Annan also welcomed this development in a statement released by his spokesman.

In addition, the Secretary-General commended Myanmar for its decision to accept the envoy.

In November, Mr. Annan expressed deep disappointment at the decision of the authorities to extend the confinement of Ms. Suu Kyi, who is the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Over the past several years, the Secretary-General has been pushing the Government of the South Asian country to release her and allow a role for opposition parties.

While there had been signs of progress in 2003 when the Myanmar authorities announced their seven-point road map towards democracy, basic goals have not been met since then, according to the most recent report by Mr. Annan.

In that report, he said the National Convention charged with drawing up principles for a new constitution continues to exclude representatives of many political parties, including the NLD.

The Secretary-General also took the opportunity of the ASEAN meeting to congratulate leaders of the organization for signing the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration” this morning, paving the way for the formation of an ASEAN Charter and providing the bloc with both a legal and institutional basis.

 

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