|Friday, 1 October 2004|
Myanmar: No room for Suu Kyi in the state's future
UNITED NATIONS, Thursday (Reuters)
A Myanmar official told the U.N. General Assembly that the country's future could not be determined by one person or party, an obvious reference to Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Describing a "road map" drawn up by the country's military rulers a year ago, U Tin Winn, a senior official in the office of the prime minister, Gen. Khin Nyunt, said a national convention leading to a new government was the only way to unify the country's 135 ethnic groups. Most of the 1,088 delegates attending the convention, which opened on May 17, were chosen by the ruling junta.
Suu Kyi, under house arrest, was left out despite a pledge to the United Nations that all political parties could participate. Her National League for Democracy, or NLD, won elections in 1990 but the military ignored the vote and locked up demonstrators. She won the Nobel peace prize in 1991.
"The future of the nation cannot be determined by one individual or one party acting alone," Tin Winn told the 191-member General Assembly.
"We cannot allow the National Convention to be derailed under any circumstances."
He said that despite trade sanctions imposed by European nations and the United States, the country has been able to rely on its own resources and help from some of its neighbors.
Consequently Myanmar over the past 15 years had opened 757 hospitals, an increase of 140 hospitals, with 22 new ones in the last year alone, he added.
Produced by Lake House