UN official calls on Myanmar to release Suu Kyi; says ‘concrete actions’ expected

13 November 2006

The top United Nations political officer has delivered a letter to Myanmar’s rulers from Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterating his call for the release of democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and stressing that the international community expects “concrete actions” from the Government in opening up the political process and other areas.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari wrapped up his four-day visit on Sunday after weekend meetings with top government officials, including Senior General Than Shwe, as well as with Ms. Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 10 of the past 16 years. He also met members of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

“In his meeting with Mr. Than Shwe, Mr. Gambari delivered a letter from the Secretary-General reiterating his appeal for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr. Gambari also urged a government security review which should lead to the release of other detained persons,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi assured Mr. Gambari that she was in reasonably good health, even though she does require more regular medical visits. She said that she welcomes continued engagement by the United Nations with Myanmar, in the hope that it can be of help in addressing the political and humanitarian issues raised by Mr. Gambari during his visit.”

Last Monday, when Mr. Annan announced the visit, he emphasized that the continued value of such engagement “can only be demonstrated by tangible steps forward on central issues such as human rights, democratic reform and national reconciliation.” During his meetings with Myanmar’s leaders, Mr. Gambari stressed that "concrete actions" were expected by the UN and the international community.

Mr. Gambari also proposed measures to enable delivery of humanitarian assistance, offered the dispatch of a UN interagency technical mission to Kayin State where civilians have been affected by conflict, and encouraged the Government to reach agreement with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which has been concerned about the use of forced labour in Myanmar.

This was Mr. Gambari’s second visit to Myanmar and built on the one he made in May.

 

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