Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Malaysia says UN, other countries may step in in Myanmar


Malaysia yesterday warned Myanmar's military junta that other countries and the UN might intervene in Myanmar's political future if pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained much longer.

"Myanmar need not be isolated," Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters. "It is wiser for them to listen [and] pay heed to the wishes of the international community."

Syed Hamid said the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations was seeking a regional solution that would bring about Suu Kyi's release, but the deadlock might eventually cause international patience to run out.

"If nothing happens, we are concerned of the possibility that other countries and other organizations, including the UN, may then come in to decide their fate,'' Syed Hamid said on the sidelines of a Malaysian-Thai business summit in northwestern Langkawi island.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi has been detained since a May 30 clash in northern Myanmar between her supporters and a pro-junta mob.

The military government has remained defiant, refusing to say where Suu Kyi is being held or when she would be freed.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week did not rule out the possibility of UN sanctions to pressure Myanmar for Suu Kyi's release. Any UN sanctions on Myanmar, however, would have to be approved by the Security Council, and Annan said the issue was not on its agenda yet.

Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai expressed hope that a Thai-drafted "road map" aimed at establishing democracy in Myanmar -- with Suu Kyi's release as the first step -- would prove agreeable to the junta.

"This is not intervention in the domestic affairs of Myanmar," Sathirathai told reporters in Langkawi. "It is entirely up to the Myanmar people. It's not that we outsiders are working on something and telling them to accept it."

Myanmar's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win said Saturday that his government had not been given details of the road map, but added that "solutions for the internal issues must be sought internally."

Sathirathai indicated he would likely raise the issue when Myanmar's Foreign Minister Win Aung visits Bangkok for an economic meeting on Thursday.

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