Sunday 24 September 2017

Suu Kyi will be released after our elections, says Burma

Damien McElroy in London

Burma has disclosed plans to release the dissident Aung San Suu Kyi after its widely derided parliamentary elections next month.

The assurances came as the military regime faces pressure to lift its house arrest on Mrs Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize holder and daughter of the country's founding father.

Burma has kept the opposition leader in confinement or under arrest for almost all of the two decades since her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won a landslide in 1990 elections, later annulled.

After a brief period of freedom upon her release in 2002, she was taken to Insein Prison, Burma's most notorious jail, then moved into virtual isolation under house arrest in Rangoon.

Nyan Win, the Burmese foreign minister, made the announcement at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Hanoi.

Imprisonment

"We were told that she will have completed her term of imprisonment by the first 10 days, probably, after the elections," Surin Pitsuwan, the Asean secretary-general, said.

"We were told that there will be no more reason to keep her in house arrest. But for that we will have to wait. It was not a clear-cut commitment."

Asean states said the junta must act on its promises.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said any move to create a "perception that this election will be more inclusive" should be welcomed.

Burma's generals have run the country since 1962 but recently introduced a series of reforms designed to rehabilitate its international image.

A general election will be held on November 11. The vote has been designed to entrench military domination, with a quarter of seats reserved for uniformed members and lavish funding for the campaign of political parties led by recently retired senior generals. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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