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INTERVIEW-Suu Kyi hits out at milit
- Subject: INTERVIEW-Suu Kyi hits out at milit
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 19:58:00
Subject: INTERVIEW-Suu Kyi hits out at military gag attempt
INTERVIEW-Suu Kyi hits out at military gag attempt
04:16 a.m. Nov 30, 1998 Eastern
By David Brunnstrom
BANGKOK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
accused the ruling military of trying to silence the pro-democracy movement
by making visiting journalists promise not to make contact with her.
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in a rare interview, also accused the
generals of making excuses to avoid a dialogue with her National League for
Democracy (NLD), which they have kept from power despite its landslide
election win eight years ago.
``I think the authorities are anxious to make sure the world does not get to
hear about us or hear from us,'' Suu Kyi said in Yangon last week in
videotaped answers to questions from Reuters.
``I understand there has been a campaign in recent weeks to persuade
correspondents to promise they would not see me -- that they would be given
a visa, they would be promised a journalistic visa, provided they make an
undertaking not to see me, not to talk to me.
``I think that's the main reason why you haven't heard much from the NLD,
because there has been a deliberate campaign to prevent the world from
hearing from us.''
She said it was vital for the NLD to be able to communicate with the outside
``People all over the world need to be alerted to what is happening in
Burma...unless they are informed of what is going on it will be difficult
for them to voice their support for what we are doing. I think keeping lines
of communications open is very, very important.''
Asked how the world should react, she said:
``We would appreciate the world coming out with messages of support and we
would like elected parliaments of this world, especially, to support our
She was referring to a committee the NLD set up in September to represent
the parliament elected in the 1990 poll.
Suu Kyi said that as of November 19, 182 NLD MPs and about 600 other party
members were in detention, although some had since been released.
Most were detained after the party vowed in September to convene parliament.
``Many, many continue to be under detention and I understand the health of
some detainees is not good.
``In general you can say they have released those whom they have either
cooerced into making some kind of undertaking not to support the NLD any
more or those who are in a precarious state of health and they don't want to
be responsible if anything happens to them,'' she said.
``I understand the authorities say that if we give up the call for the
convening of parliament, they would release all the detainees, but we have
made it quite clear we are not going to give up our demand that parliament
Suu Kyi brushed aside calls in the military-controlled media for the
disbanding of the NLD and her deportation.
``We have made it quite clear that even if they did deregister the NLD we
would continue with our work...we'll carry on wherever we are, whether it's
in or out of prison.
She said she was not worried by calls for her deportation.
``Since I'm a Burmese citizen and a citizen of no other country, I can't see
how they can deport me unless of course they buy up the moon and take me
She said the NLD was not engaged in any dialogue with the military and
accused the generals of breaking an agreement on confidentiality after a
high-level meeting described by the government as a ``confidence-boosting''
step earlier this year.
``Certainly our confidence was not built up by what happened,'' she said.
Suu Kyi said the government's position that no dialogue was possible while
the NLD committee claimed to represent parliament was ``their latest excuse
for not having dialogue.''
``If they really want dialogue they would be ready at any time. As long as
they don't want dialogue they will come up with some excuse and this is just
one of the many.''