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29 Jul 2003 17:10
Myanmar’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that if his country releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi too soon it could trigger unrest.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar warned that a prolonged detention of Suu Kyi would be a “setback” for the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is under pressure to help broker a solution to the crisis.
“The sooner the release is done, the better for all sides,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an Asian and African ministerial meeting in the city of Bandung in West Java province.
Indonesia currently chairs ASEAN, which also includes Myanmar and Malaysia as members.
Myanmar Foreign Minister Win Aung is also attending the Bandung meeting.
On Monday he met Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to discuss the fate of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The military junta detained Suu Kyi after a deadly May 30 clash between her supporters and junta backers.
But exiled opposition groups say pro-government thugs ambushed the motorcade, leaving dozens dead, in a pretext for a crackdown on her pro-democracy party.
The arrest halted a reconciliation process that started in October 2000 with talks between Suu Kyi and the government. Asked on Tuesday when Suu Kyi would be released, Win Aung said: “As soon as the situation returns to normal. We don’t have any intention to prolong that arrangement.”
“What we are aiming for is not to have any upheaval in the country,” said Win Aung, who is also the special envoy of Myanmar’s military junta leader General Than Swee.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has sent envoys to several Asian countries, including Thailand and Japan, to explain Suu Kyi’s detention.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won general elections in Myanmar in 1990, but was barred by the military from taking power. - Sapa-AP
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