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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Burma told to release Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi
The generals have refused to release Aung San Suu Kyi
Ministers from Asia and Europe have again called on Burma's military government to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a statement issued after two days of talks dominated by the situation in Burma, ministers also demanded the military government resume moves towards national reconciliation.

The statement, summing up the fifth meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bali, was issued later than expected after disagreements over its wording.

European governments want to increase pressure on Burma's military junta. But many Asian states are advocating a softer line, focusing on further negotiations.

Burma's military government would be left in no doubt that they must start a concrete process of national reconciliation

Burma has faced international condemnation for its refusal to release Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained after an attack on her convoy in northern Burma on 30 May.

Both the United States and the European Union have announced sanctions against the military state.

A statement from regional grouping Asean last month was unprecedented as it has a tradition of non-interference in its members' affairs.

But some East Asian countries want more decisive action

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that Asean should threaten Burma with expulsion if it failed to release Aung San Suu Kyi.

Other countries, such as Thailand, favour a more conciliatory approach, emphasising engagement rather than isolation.

Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai has told the BBC that his country had drawn up a "roadmap" for establishing democracy in Burma.

He has offered Thailand's assistance in the venture, and is currently canvassing support for his idea amongst the Asian and European participants at the ASEM meeting in Bali, according to the BBC's Larry Jagan.


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