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EU Welcomes Reports of Possible Release Of Suu Kyi - 2004-04-04


The European Union has welcomed reports that detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi may be released to attend a constitutional convention next month.

In a statement Saturday, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen said he welcomed an announcement by Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung suggesting Aung San Suu Kyi would be released ahead of the May 17th talks.

Mr. Cowen, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said the organization wants to see the return of democracy to Burma and an end to all human rights violations there.

But Win Aung - who was in Bangkok - later backtracked from his previous remarks. Officials say he had misunderstood a reporter's question.

Win Aung would only confirm that the opposition National League for Democracy -- the movement Aung San Suu Kyi founded -- would be able to take part in next month's proceedings.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She has been in detention or under house arrest on numerous occasions since 1988, when the military seized power in Rangoon.

The European Union will consider later this month whether to extend economic sanctions against Burma for another year.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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