13 February 2003

Secretary-General Concerned by Arrest of Opposition Party Members in Myanmar; Urges Authorities to Release All Political Prisoners and Engage in Dialogue

NEW YORK, 12 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is concerned by the arrests by the Myanmar authorities of 12 members of opposition parties, including seven members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), as well as Sai Nyunt Lwin, the Secretary-General of the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD). He reiterates his strong belief that national reconciliation should begin with a constructive dialogue between the Myanmar authorities and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which is being facilitated by his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail. For such a constructive dialogue to move forward, the opposition parties, including NLD, should be able to engage freely in political activities in Myanmar. He once again urges the Myanmar authorities to release without delay all political prisoners, and to engage in substantive political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

* *** *