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Myanmar Democratization Must Have Opposition Role

Myanmar Democratization Will Not Be Credible Without Opposition Role: Annan

Myanmar's transition to democracy and national reconciliation will lack credibility if its ruling council does not engage in meaningful dialogue with opposition political parties and release the Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

Mr. Annan believes the National Convention, a body set up by Myanmar's leaders to help achieve peace and democracy, "does not currently adhere to" successive General Assembly resolutions, according to a statement released by his spokesman.

He called on the ruling State and Peace Development Council (SPDC) to take advantage of last month's adjournment of the National Convention and seek the views of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other opposition groups.

If not, he warned, Myanmar's seven-stage roadmap for democracy and reconciliation "will be incomplete, lacking in credibility" and without the support of the country's neighbours or the rest of the world.

The Secretary-General said Myanmar's rulers should immediately release Ms. Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and the General Secretary of the NLD, from house arrest. She has been confined to her home since last year.

"It also remains essential for a mutually acceptable agreement to be reached with the ethnic nationality ceasefire groups," Mr. Annan said, praising recent statements by some of these coalitions about how rights and powers could be distributed between the nation and regions.

Mr. Annan also urged the SPDC to allow his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, to return to the country as soon as possible to help promote reconciliation.

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