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United Nations

Myanmar focus urged

September 27, 2009|Times Wire Reports

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a ministerial meeting of southeast Asian nations to take a tougher line with fellow member Myanmar in hopes that its military government will free political prisoners and hold fair elections.

Ban said that it is in the best interest of the rest of the 10-member Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations to lean on Myanmar to free political prisoners, including democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The 64-year-old Nobel Peace laureate has been under detention for 14 of the last 20 years, since she led a pro-democracy uprising that was crushed by the government.

This month, Myanmar's leaders released at least 25 political detainees as part of an amnesty, but that was believed to be only about 1% of all political inmates in custody.

Ban called the amnesty "a step in the right direction [that] falls short of expectations." He said the election planned for next year must be credible.

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