Hanoi – European foreign ministers attending the multilateral Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi Monday met with their Myanmar counterparts to ask that jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi be freed.
Representatives of the European Union met with Myanmar’s delegation for roughly an hour on the sidelines of the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to discuss Suu Kyi’s recent imprisonment and upcoming national elections.
“We had asked [the Myanmar government] to release [Suu Kyi] from house arrest before, and now, based on the law, from this jail,” said Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs Jan Kohout. “So that’s what we are asking for, and not only her, but also to release all the prisoners and detainees.”
Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt said the release of Suu Kyi was “key in order to get a conducive atmosphere” for the elections, scheduled to be held in 2010.
“What is necessary for those elections is to have an inclusive dialog with all political forces in the country,” Bildt said. “And for that to be possible there must of course be freedom for the different political forces.”
Kohout and Bildt represented the EU in their countries’ capacities as current and upcoming holders of the EU’s rotating presidency.
Suu Kyi is currently on trial for violating the terms of her house arrest, after an American man earlier this month swam across a lake and entered her home.
She has spent 14 of the past 20 years in jail and under house arrest despite her party winning a landslide victory in Myanmar’s last elections, in 1990. The military government refused to recognize those results.(dpa)