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Suu Kyi comment “misunderstood”

Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version


Suu Kyi comment “misunderstood”

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: The release of Myanmar’s celebrated democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest in Yangon is not on the cards until almost the end of next year.

Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win had on Sunday made a comment, which was taken for a clear hint that Ms. Suu Kyi might be set free in about six months.

At the annual ministerial meeting of the ASEAN here on Monday, Mr. Nyan Win said his ASEAN colleagues had “misunderstood” his remark. He said the limit for detaining the Noble Peace Laureate would not end in six months. ASEAN Chair and Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo summed up Myanmar’s position as: “The limit will be reached six months from May 2009, which is the expiry of the existing one-year detention order.”

Ms. Suu Kyi has been in detention one way or another since her electoral triumph in 1990. The latest phase began in 2002, when she, in a brief period of freedom, rallied people.

The political situation in Myanmar was among the issues that figured in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Monday.



Q: What was the Myanmar Foreign Minister’s reply to the call by his ASEAN colleagues for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release?

Minister: Well he explained that under their law, the maximum period of detention for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is one year as approved by the Home Minister and five more years as approved by the Prime Minister as a cabinet decision, meaning a maximum of 6 years, and he told us that the 6-year limit will come up in about half a year’s time.

Q: You said that the Myanmar Minister was telling you that the detention would end in about half a year’s time, does that mean that Aung San Suu Kyi will be released after the end of the six years?

Minister: I’m just repeating what he told me, but I think that is not an inaccurate inference.

Q: But were the ASEAN ministers satisfied with that explanation?

Minister: On Myanmar, we have long taken a position which we knew did not have the full agreement of the Myanmar Foreign Minister. We understand the position he is in, and we agreed that in my statement to you, I should mention by name, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 22, 2008 at 5:00 am

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