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Japan, Malaysia To Pressure Burma On Aung San Suu Kyi - 2003-07-10


Japan and Malaysia have agreed to continue pressuring Burma to release detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The announcement followed talks (Thursday) in Tokyo between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Mr. Abdullah is the designated successor to Malaysia's long-time prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who is expected to retire later this year.

The parties did not specify what measures they will take to pressure Burma, but Japan suspended financial aid to the Rangoon government late last month. The European Union also has imposed sanctions against Burma.

Police arrested Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi on May 30th, following a clash between pro-democracy activists and pro-government demonstrators in northern Burma. The incident took place as she was meeting with supporters.

Burma's ruling military has sent emissaries out to neighboring countries, in an effort to counter growing criticism of its treatment of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. State media also increasingly have criticized Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers in recent days.

The pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in national elections in 1990, but the military never allowed them to take power. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of the time since under house arrest.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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