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PIA Press Release
2007/09/28

PGMA urges Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi, Buddhist monks

NEW YORK (via PLDT) (28 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday (Sept. 27, New York time) urged the government of Myanmar to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and scores of Buddhist monks who have been rounded up for staging protests against the country's military rulers.

In a statement that she distributed personally to members of the Philippine media at the Waldorf Astoria Towers where she is billeted during her three-day official trip here, the President said freeing Suu Kyi from years of house arrest serves Myanmar's own best interests and avoid further isolation of the country from the rest of the world's democracies.

Myanmar is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"Recent events in Myanmar, therefore, are of concern to the Philippines and to the region as a whole," the President said, and called on Yangon to act with "utmost restraint and to make immediate steps to preserve what advances have been made in its roadmap to democracy."

She said it was important that all stakeholders engage in a common search for a peaceful resolution of the current unrest in the country and bring about national reconciliations..

"This means," she added, the "release of all those who have been detained and who can contribute to the process of national renewal, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi."

She also called on Rangoon's military leaders to invite United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari to visit that country as soon as possible to look into the situation there.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was democratically elected prime minister of Myanmar in 1990 but the military refused to hand over power to her winning National League for Democracy Party. Suu Kyi has been under house address since 1989.

The President will address the UN General Assembly before noon Friday (New York time) as she winds up her official visit to the Big Apple. She is scheduled to head back to Manila Friday afternoon, (New York time). (OPS) [top]

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