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Myanmar: detention of pro-democracy leaders

Myanmar: Annan ‘worried’ by continued detention of pro-democracy leaders

Stressing that Myanmar is at a “critical juncture” in its ongoing political transition, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he believes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy leaders currently being held in “protective custody” should be released immediately and allowed to cooperate with the Government to bring about national reconciliation in the country.

According to a statement by his spokesman in New York, the Secretary-General is increasingly concerned with the situation in Myanmar following the incidents this weekend in the north of the country. “He is especially worried by the continued detention in ‘protective custody’ of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior leaders of the National League for Democracy Party (NDL),” Fred Eckhard said at a press briefing.

“The Secretary-General believes that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NDL members should be released immediately,” the spokesman said, adding that, at this crucial juncture, Mr. Annan maintains that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as both a national leader and the leader of the NDL, must be allowed to play a role, in cooperation with the Government and others, in taking steps to bring about national reconciliation in Myanmar.

“Moreover, all parties should act responsibly to ensure that the national reconciliation process is not undermined further, Mr. Eckhard said. “The present situation in Myanmar is not merely a question of ‘law and order,’ but rather one that derives from the political aspirations of the Myanmar people who are overwhelmingly in favour of change.”

The spokesman said that the Secretary-General has instructed his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, in his capacity as “facilitator,” to talk to the Government of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other national leaders during his 6 to 10 June visit, with a view to starting the process of national reconciliation.

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