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19 August 2009

Pardon for Suu Kyi on agenda at Asean meet in Jakarta

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) plans to discuss a proposed joint call for Myanmar to free democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during a meeting in Jakarta later this week, AFP quoted a diplomatic source as saying Tuesday.

Thailand, the current chair of Asean, said on Friday it was pushing for a consensus among member states to ask Myanmar's military rulers to pardon Suu Kyi.

“We will discuss it at a senior officials' meeting this week in Jakarta,” the source, who asked not to be named, told AFP. The meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday in the Indonesian capital, the diplomat said.

“We support it, but I don't know if all Asean (members) support it,” the diplomat said, when asked about his country's position. “There's nothing firm, only a proposal so far,” he added.

US Senator Jim Webb, in an interview with CNN on Monday after a visit to Myanmar, said he understood that Asean was working on the proposal to seek amnesty for Suu Kyi. Mr Webb had met with Myanmar's reclusive ruler, Senior General Than Shwe, during his trip.

Asean has faced frequent criticism for taking a soft line on its most troublesome member, but Webb indicated the bloc could be about to toughen its stance. “I am of the understanding that we are possibly going to see from Asean... a petition of some sort that would ask for amnesty for her as well, which would be a major step forward in resolving the situation,” he said.




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