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UN Alarmed About Aung San Suu Kyi - 2003-06-26


A U.N. envoy to Burma says the United Nations is getting more and more alarmed about the military government's continued imprisonment of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail said Wednesday Secretary General Kofi Annan is extremely worried about how long it is taking Burma to carry out its promise to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

She was detained May 30th after a deadly clash between members of her National League for Democracy and pro-government demonstrators.

Burma says it is holding her for her own protection against an unspecified assassination threat. But it has refused to say where she is or exactly when it will free her.

Mr. Razali, a Malaysian diplomat, has been the only foreigner allowed to see Aung San Suu Kyi since her arrest.

He said Burmese authorities promised him she would be free one to two weeks after he saw her on June 10th. He met in Tokyo Wednesday with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

In Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, James Kelly, dismissed as nonsense Burma's claim that the pro-democracy marchers provoked the May 30th fighting.

He said pro-government thugs launched a pre-meditated attack.

Mr. Kelly also said the State Department is expanding visa restrictions on Burmese officials and preparing to freeze Burmese government assets in the United States. He added the State Department supports efforts to restrict Burmese imports, as well as travel-related transactions.

Japan -- the world's largest donor of foreign aid to Burma -- says it will freeze aid to Burma if Aung San Suu Kyi is not out of prison by June 30th.

France has invited Aung San Suu Kyi to a July 14th Bastille Day (independence day) party at the embassy in Rangoon. A French foreign ministry spokesman says Paris is counting on the Burmese government to let her come.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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