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ASEAN To Press For Aung San Suu Kyi Release - 2003-07-23


Southeast Asian nations are planning to send a high-ranking delegation to Burma, to press for the release of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Philippine Foreign Minister Blas Ople revealed the plan Wednesday at a two-day meeting of Southeast Asian and European Union delegates on the Indonesian island of Bali. He did not say when the delegation will go to Rangoon.

European Union External Relations Commmissioner Chris Patten said Wednesday that Burma's military rulers does not seem to care about the well-being of Burma's people.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda has said the Asian and European officials will issue a joint statement after talks end on Thursday, calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Police arrested the Nobel laureate on May 30th, following clashes between her supporters and pro-government demonstrators in northern Burma. Since her arrest, European nations have called for strong measures against Burma's military government.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said Burma could face expulsion from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations if Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is not released. But other Southeast Asian governments, like Burma's neighbor, Thailand, favor low-key diplomacy and a milder approach.

Meanwhile, Burmese state newspapers have run an article accusing Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of trying to "destabilize" the situation with her "provocative attitude."

The charges came Wednesday, in the latest of a series of commentaries allegedly written by a disgruntled member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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