Free Suu Kyi: Annan to Myanmar junta
The United Nations Secretary-General has made a direct appeal to Myanmar junta leader Than Shwe to free Aung San Suu Kyi.india Updated: May 26, 2006 16:11 IST
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday urged Myanmar's military rulers to end Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's detention to speed up the process of national reconciliation.
Suu Kyi was last put under house arrest in May 2003 and her detention is reviewed annually by the military government.
The UN Secretary General, currently on a visit to Thailand, called upon Myanmar's rulers to refrain from extending her house arrest.
"The government will be reviewing her status within 24 hours. I take this opportunity to appeal to Gen Than Shwe and the government to release her," Annan said in a statement released here.
"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," the statement added.
Noting that Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 10 of the past 16 years, the UN chief said last week's visit by his special envoy to Myanmar to meet her was "a welcome development."
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari who visited Myanmar last week, was the first foreigner to see Suu Kyi in two years.
Suu Kyi's release "would 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," Annan said.
"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 Gen Than Shwe to do the right thing," the statement concluded.