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Eu pressed release of thailand political leader

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EU's Irish presidency urges early Suu Kyi release by Myanmar

03 April 2004

The Irish presidency of the European Union Saturday welcomed reports that Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would be released by the country's ruling junta before May 17.

"I welcome the reported announcement", said Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen in a statement.

"The European Union has consistently called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and for the inclusion of (her party) the National League for Democracy in the National Convention."

The convention begins May 17 and is the first step in the junta's self-proclaimed "road map to democracy".

However, Myanmar's Foreign Minister Win Aung said Saturday it was too early to name a date for Suu Kyi's release.

When asked on the sidelines of talks in Bangkok with his Thai counterpart whether Suu Kyi, who was taken into custody during political unrest last year, would be freed by May 17, Win Aung said: "It's too early to say".

Amid reports the minister had stated Suu Kyi would be released ahead of the convention, Thailand's foreign ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow said he had been misquoted.

"I talked to him personally and he said he was misquoted and the story was a misunderstanding," Sihasak told AFP. "He said it was too early to give a specific date for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi."

Cowen, meanwhile, called for Suu Kyi and other members of her party who remain in custody to be released immediately.

He said: "The European Union wants to see the return of democracy" to Myanmar, "an end to all human rights violations and the realisation of peace and prosperity for the people.

"The release of Aung San Suu Kyi and an inclusive National Convention would constitute an important first step towards that goal."

Text and Picture Copyright 2004 AFP. All other copyright 2004 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.

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