29 May 2006

Secretary-General Appeals to Myanmar's Government to Release Aung San Suu Kyi

NEW YORK, 26 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's statement on Myanmar:

Last week, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar and had the opportunity to meet General Than Shwe, as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

This is a welcome development, for he was the first foreigner to see her in two years.  Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 10 of the past 16 years in detention or under house arrest.

The Government will be reviewing her status within 24 hours.

I take this opportunity to appeal to General Than Shwe and the Government to release her.

I believe her release will facilitate national dialogue and allow the National League for Democracy to participate in that dialogue.

I think it would be in the interest of Myanmar, the region and the world at large.

It would also allow the Government and the people not only to build the nation together, but to focus on the essential issue of economic and social development.

For the democratic process and the reconciliation process to be truly successful, it has to be inclusive.  And she has a role to play.  And I'm relying on you General Than Shwe to do the right thing.

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