Japan’s minister demands Suu Kyi’s immediate release
TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi has underlined Tokyo’s demand for an immediate release of pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the foreign ministry said.
Kawaguchi told telephone talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister Win Aung by telephone late Friday, the ministry said.
“Japan demands that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) be immediately released and freedom of NLD’s political activities be immediately ensured,” Kawaguchi told her Myanmar counterpart, according to the ministry. “It is critically important for Myanmar to make progress on national reconciliation and democratisation,” she said.
Win Aung was quoted by the ministry as telling Kawaguchi: “The Government of Myanmar has not abandoned the process of national reconciliation and democratisation and would like to make progress in the process.” But the Myanmar foreign minister stopped short of mentioning any immediate plans for her release. She told Win Aung that she hopes to meet him in Phnom Penh next week on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, a regional security grouping.
Japan is the biggest aid donor to Myanmar. It suspended all but a small amount of humanitarian aid in the aftermath of a 1988 military coup and crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, but the flow of funds resumed in 1994.
In February Japan’s overseas aid agency said it planned to spend about 20 million dollars in Myanmar in the fiscal year beginning last month despite a reduction in its overall budget. —AFP
EU to tighten sanctions against Myanmar
BRUSSELS: The European Union is expected immediately to toughen up sanctions against Myanmar in the wake of the arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, an EU diplomatic source said on Saturday. EU foreign ministers scheduled to meet in Luxembourg on Monday were ready to “immediately put in place increased sanctions,” the source said. The Nobel peace laureate was placed in “protective custody” at the end of May after violent clashes between her supporters and a junta-backed mob that left dozens dead. Harsher EU penalties could include an extension to the list of Myanmar’s leaders barred from entering the EU as well as a toughening up of an arms embargo. The present sanctions regime includes an arms embargo, a freezing of assets and a visa ban on a list of Burmese officials. The European Union’s Commission warned on June 6 that it could strengthen sanctions against Yangon, and again called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi. It set a deadline of October 29 to introduce the new measures. Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in a military camp 40 kilometres (25 miles) outside the capital. —AFP