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Asahi Evening News 5/28
- Subject: Asahi Evening News 5/28
- From: mcs@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 11:20:00
We're Stronger, Suu Kyi Declares
By AMY SHIRATORI
Asahi Evening News
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday hailed the
success of a three-day congress of her National League for Democracy
(NLD), scheduled to end today, and said solidarity has been strengthened in
the party's fight against a constitution being drafted by the ruling military
Suu Kyi made her remarks in an interview with Asahi Evening News by
telephone from Rangoon Monday evening.
"This congress has been of greater success because of what SLORC (the
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council) did," she said. "We had a
lot of international attention."
The government had arrested hundreds of her supporters and elected party
representatives last week in a bid to block the congress.
"It always happens like that," Suu Kyi said in the interview. "Every time
the authorities get tough, we get more united."
As for those arrested, Suu Kyi said, "There are indications that they (junta
leaders) intend to keep them, at least some of them, (in custody) for
longer than a few days.
"We do not know how they have been treated. We know that at least one or
two people when they were arrested they were handled very roughly."
According to an Asahi Shimbun reporter in Rangoon, Suu Kyi told
reporters that two elected party representatives in custody have been
charged and the NLD spokesman thrown into jail.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner said the NLD will fight the constitution
drawn up by the military because it grants the military 25% of the
parliamentary seats "and also makes military choose the leader."
"Apart from that," she said, "it is not a constitution drawn up by
representatives of the people."
She has said the NLD congress, one of a planned series to be held, was to
have discussed preparations for drawing up its own new constitution.
Suu Kyi brushed aside the possibility that the military might try to rush
through passage of its constitution and vowed to resist firmly, saying, "It
doesn't matter what they do. Their constitution will still not have the
support of the people."
She admitted that the two sides seem no closer to having any kind of
"Of course the possibility for dialogue is always there because there are
still so many problems," she added.
Suu Kyi had critical words for the Association of South East Asian Nations'
low-key reaction to the junta's crackdown.
"It is a little inconsistent to say one does not want to meddle with internal
affairs of the country when there are so many economic ties between each
country. If you do not really want to meddle in affairs of a country, you do
not have any economic relations either," she said.
Countries in ASEAN member nations have been stepping up their
investments in Burma. Burma is scheduled to participate in the ASEAN
foreign ministers' meeting in July.
"As far as I can see, the investment is helping SLORC and not Burma," Suu
Kyi said. "The investment that is made does not help the ordinary people. It
only makes a small elite richer."
She also scolded Japan, one of the few countries that has been giving aid to
Burma, saying, "I think they have yet to prove that the humanitarian aid is
actually getting to the ordinary people of Burma."
She admitted, however, there is a limit to the international pressure that
can be brought to bear on the regime.
"I do not think Burma will be isolated (from the rest of the world), but
that does not mean Burma will be a healthy and prosperous nation," she
Asked if she planned any action to mark the first anniversary in July of
her release from six years of house arrest, she said, "We just do the work
that we have the responsibility to do."