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Aung San Suu Kyi Calls for Junta to Hasten Move to Democracy - 2002-08-20


Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading Burmese democracy activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work, said during a Tuesday morning Voice of America interview that her country’s government must move more quickly toward democracy than it has up to now.

Her comments to VOA Burmese reporter Aye Aye Mar came on the heels of Monday's statement by Burma's military leadership that it intends to install democracy in the country “at a Burmese pace.” Aung San Suu Kyi noted that “the process must begin as soon as possible” and said that “it’s already been 14 years and we’ve made very little progress.”

Aung San Suu Kyi also used her interview to call for the release of all political prisonsers. She said that “there can be no democracy in Burma if people are going to be arrested for expressing political views.” And she said that “the top priority for my political party – the National League for Democracy – is the release of all political prisoners, especially those who are elderly or ill. Their release would signify a significant step towards democracy in Burma.”

Aung San Suu Kyi and the military have been engaged in two years of confidence building talks with the help of a U.N. special envoy, Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail. Mr. Razali wrapped up a visit to Burma earlier this month, saying he believed the talks would move from their current stalemate into more substantive political issues very soon.

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