[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

More words from Daw Suu

(Adds quotes, colour, background)

By Deborah Charles
RANGOON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, defying
Burmese government attempts to gag her, slipped by police barricades barring
access to her home on Wednesday and told reporters up to 800 democracy
activists had been arrested.
Her estimate was sharply higher than that of the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC), which said 559 of her National League for
Democracy (NLD) party members and supporters had been arrested since last
"We think it is nearer 800," the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate said when told of
the number of detentions declared by the military government on Tuesday.
The Burmese embassy in Bangkok said late on Tuesday that 88 of the 559
detained ahead of an NLD congress planned for September 27-29 had already
been released.
Suu Kyi, who joined in on an elaborate plan to meet about a dozen reporters
at a house just outside the police barricades blocking access to her
University Avenue home, said she was not downhearted by the latest action
taken by the SLORC.
"The level of response is always a reflection of the extent of their fear,
their nervousness," she said when asked what she thought of the SLORC's
efforts to block the party meeting.
The SLORC ordered arrests and barred people from travelling on University
Avenue since early on Friday to prevent the party meeting from taking place.
It said the detentions were only temporary and claimed the NLD was trying to
create instability and incite riots with its gathering.
Suu Kyi said the latest crackdown was not a surprise to the party and said
it would help boost the NLD's legitimacy.
"What has happened over the last week has been a great help to us," a
relaxed-looking Suu Kyi said. "People are fed up with this kind of stupid
behaviour and the international community agrees now the SLORC is getting
worse not better."
The United States, the European Union and international human rights groups
have condemned the latest Burmese detentions and called for immediate
release of the detainees.
A defiant Suu Kyi, who said she was housing 31 people in her compound
including eight NLD representatives who came to Rangoon to attend the
congress, vowed to hold another party congress without seeking permission
from the SLORC.
SLORC officials have said the NLD congress was illegal in part because the
party did not have permission to hold the meeting. Suu Kyi says meetings are
a regular and necessary part of the work of a legitimate organisation like
the NLD.
"We will continue our plans for our party. We will eventually convene
another congress, but that won't be right away," she said. "We certainly are
not going to ask for anybody's permission."  She said she and party chairman
Aung Shwe asked the SLORC on Friday to sit down and negotiate with the
party.  "None of this would have happened over the past few days if we had
dialogue," she said. "Dialogue would be much more pleasant than all of this
nonsense."  SLORC says the forum for dialogue is a national convention,
which has been meeting since 1993. Suu Kyi angered the SLORC last year by
pulling the NLD out of the talks where hand-picked SLORC delegates are
drafting guidelines for a new charter.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996 
By Ian MacKenzie

JAKARTA, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Western hostility towards Rangoon's military
rulers poses Southeast Asian nations with a dilemma over how quickly to
admit Burma to full ASEAN membership, diplomatic analysts said on Wednesday.
Burma's membership was discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations in New York last week, ASEAN
Secretary-General Ajit Singh said.
"But because there is no government in Thailand at the moment, the ministers
decided to postpone that decision until a new government in Thailand is
formed," he told Reuters in Kuala Lumpur.
Diplomatic analysts said clear differences had emerged within the
seven-nation group over Burma, highlighted by comments by Philippines
President Fidel Ramos to reporters in Manila on Wednesday.
He said ASEAN might review its policy of "constructive engagement" towards
Burma which has been aimed at influencing rather than forcing policy changes
by the country's military rulers.
"That view was also put cross by the Philippines foreign minister in New
York. There were others who stated their positions," Singh said.
ASEAN comprises Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam and Brunei. So far, they have endeavoured to show a united front
over a variety of issues, including Burma.
Diplomats said Western concern over Burma had heightened over the past week
with a further crackdown on opponents of the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC).
Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday the government
had arrested up to 800 members and supporters of her National League for
Democracy (NLD) since Thursday last week.
Washington has threatened sanctions against Burma over its record on human
rights and democracy. The United States, the European Union and other
Western powers have made no secret of their distaste for Burma's current rulers.
"What concerns us is how you could sensibly cooperate between the European
Union and ASEAN with someone like the SLORC actually across the table," one
diplomat commented.
Analysts said the Philippines and Thailand before the collapse of its last
government wanted ASEAN to take a cautious approach to Burma's membership to
take account of "Western sensibilities".  Singapore and Malaysia had
advocated admitting Burma quickly, possibly at the annual foreign ministers'
conference in Kuala Lumpur in July next year -- the 30th anniversary of the
organisation.  Burma said on Tuesday it had submitted its application to
join ASEAN, in which it gained observer status at a meeting in Jakarta in
July -- a move which prompted Western criticism and an angry reaction in
turn from ASEAN states.
The other two Southeast Asian countries, Cambodia and Laos, are due to
become full members next year.  Officials and diplomats in the region said
there was unlikely to be a decision on Burma's application until heads of
government of the seven ASEAN nations hold an informal summit in Jakarta at
the end of November.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996REUTER NEWS SERVICE
Democratic Voice of Burma(DVB)
P.O Box 6720
ST.Olavs Plass
0130 Oslo, Norway
Tel: 47-22-200021, Tel/fax:47-22-362525.
First Transmission at>>	11:00 to 11:25 GMT - 15170 kHz(Short wave-19 meter)
Second Transmission at>>14:30 to 14:55 GMT - 11850 kHz(Short wave-25 meter)