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UN Chief: Burma's Plan for Democracy One-Sided - 2003-11-11


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticized Burma's military government for preparing a so-called "road map" to democracy without consulting political opposition leaders.

In a report to the General Assembly Monday, Mr. Annan said the only way such a road map could work is if the process were to involve all of Burma's political parties, national leaders and ethnic groups. He also criticized Burma's government for not providing a timeline for its proposed transition.

Mr. Annan again urged Burma to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. She was detained in late May following a clash between her supporters and government-backed protesters.

Mr. Annan's comments came as UN human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro concluded a six-day visit to Burma that included a two-hour meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Speaking in Thailand Monday, Mr. Pinheiro said democracy cannot come to Burma until the government releases all political prisoners, especially elderly members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

The envoy said that when he visited the Nobel Peace laureate at her home, she said she would not accept any liberties for herself until all of her detained supporters are released.

Mr. Pinheiro said Burma's government told him it has set free eight of 35 senior NLD members who were detained following the May clash. He said he believes the government detained about 150 members in all.

The UN envoy will present a report about Burma to the General Assembly later this week.

Information for this report is provided by UN news release, AFP, AP and Reuters.

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