Myanmar considering amnesty for pol prisoners

Myanmar`s ruling military junta is preparing to release pol prisoners by giving them amnesty.

New York: Myanmar`s ruling military junta
is preparing to release political prisoners by giving them
amnesty, the country`s envoy to the United Nations told the
Security Council on Tuesday but could not clarify if this included
pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Government is processing amnesty granted to
prisoners on humanitarian grounds with a view to enabling them
to participate in the general elections, said Myanmar`s envoy
to UN U Than Swe.

But the statement was seen with a lot of skepticism by
countries like France, Britain and the US, who wanted the
junta to take action first.

"You have heard the Permanent Representative of
Myanmar saying that his Government is now taking some
procedures to allow some amnesty," UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon himself told reporters outside the Security Council at
the UN headquarters here.

"But I am not quite sure who will be included in this
amnesty. But I have made it quite clear that Aung San Suu Kyi
in particular should be released and free to participate in
the election," Ban said.

Reiterating that Myanmar is not a threat to
international peace, the Ambassador urged that the economic
sanctions imposed against it be removed.

Do not impose western solutions on Myanmar: China

New York: China on Tuesday cautioned the developed world not to impose western solutions on Myanmar and asked them to lift economic sanctions on Yangoon that has been ruled by military for the past several decades.

A key ally of Myanmar and often a lone voice of
support to the military junta at international forums, China
told the members of the Security Council that the events
happening inside Myanmar is an internal matter of that country
and there should be no effort to interfere with it.

"Events occurring inside Myanmar are internal affairs
that should be handled by the Government, as they posed no
threat to international peace and security," said China`s
Deputy Ambassador Liu Zhenmin in his address to the Security
Council.

"It is obvious that Myanmar`s problems could not be
addressed in a Western manner," Liu argued. He hoped that the
Burmese Government would steadily reform and lead its people
towards economic prosperity, and that the international
community would fairly assess the country`s challenges.

China hopes that the international sanctions against
Myanmar would be lifted, which is necessary for the creation
of an enabling environment for development, he said.

Meanwhile, even US, Britain and France have
expressed disappointment over Burma`s failure to address
concerns of the international community to restore democracy
in the country and called on the military junta to free
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi "immediately and
unconditionally."

Participating in a debate on Burma inside the UN
Security Council yesterday after the Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon briefed the 15-membered body on his recent visit to
the country, US Britain and France asked the junta to match
its words with actions.

"As 2010 approaches, the government has repeatedly
assured us that next year`s elections will be free and fair.
But there can be no free and fair elections while key leaders
of Burma`s democratic opposition-including Aung San Suu Kyi
and more than 2,000 other political prisoners-languish in
Burma`s prisons," Rosemary A DiCarlo, the US Alternate
Representative for Special Political Affairs, said.

"We are deeply concerned about these proceedings. We
call on the regime to cease its actions against Aung San Suu
Kyi and to free her immediately and unconditionally," DiCarlo
said.

She said the Burmese authorities are not respecting
the popular will by putting the leader of the country`s
democratic opposition on trial for spurious charges.
Authorities continue to resist addressing the grave
human rights challenges facing the country, she added.

Bureau Report

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