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Suu Kyi to focus on political detainees: Source

world Updated: Nov 16, 2010 07:56 IST

AFP
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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed to focus on political prisoners still in jail and did not ask for the lifting of international sanctions in her first meeting with diplomats, sources said on Monday.

With the UN Security Council to discuss Myanmar Thursday and the UN General Assembly to vote on a Myanmar rights resolution the same day, international powers are anxiously looking for signs of how the junta treats the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Aung San Suu Kyi met with diplomats in Yangon on Monday, two days after her release from almost two decades of detention and house arrest, said a diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

She told them that "no conditions had been imposed on her freedom" but she had no immediate travel plans.

Aung San Suu Kyi said she was "already focused on the other 2,100 political prisoners" in Myanmar jails, the source said.

The democracy icon urged the international community "to play an active and constructive role, most immediately by pressing the authorities to release the other 2,100 political prisoners."

"She paid tribute to the countries that had steadfastly supported her" and added that "she hoped that India would be more pro-active in future."

The United Nations and international governments have all called on the junta to follow the release of the National League for Democracy leader by freeing all political prisoners.

Myanmar authorities deny that there are any prisoners of conscience.

Her release has also sparked a new debate on the effectiveness of international sanctions against the military-run country.

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, on Monday urged the United States and Europe to lift sanctions against Myanmar, calling them "morally not good."

"She said that she would decide what position to take on sanctions in due course, in the light of what was the right thing for the people of (Myanmar). So she did not make any plea," the diplomatic source said.

The UN Security Council will discuss Myanmar for Thursday. The council is split however between the United States and European nations, which have taken a hard line on Myanmar, and China, the junta's main international backer, and its allies.

The diplomatic source said that if Aung San Suu Kyi asked for the ending of sanctions, "obviously we would need to listen to that case."

After the widespread criticism of Myanmar's November 7 elections, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi surprised many countries.

"The elections were a sham and not sufficient to trigger a complete change of approach on the part of the international community," said a diplomat.

"On the other hand the release of Aung San Suu Kyi was very welcome."

"Much will depend on how she is treated and how free she is to go about her business over the next couple of days."

A draft resolution on human rights in Myanmar, drawn up by European nations with the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is to be voted at the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

It expresses grave concern at "arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

It urges the government to undertake an "impartial and independent investigation" into reports of human rights but does not mention calls for an inquiry into possible crimes against humanity as a UN rights expert has urged.