Myanmar should engage pro-democracy groups

By NNN-Bernama

Kota Tinggi, Malaysia : The military government in Myanmar should begin immediate talks with pro-democracy supporters led by Aung San Suu Kyi before the regime is slapped with tough sanctions, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar.

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He said the military junta, which has been severely criticised for the recent violent crackdown on anti-government protests, should also be committed to implementing the “road map” for peace as promised.

“Both sides should meet without any pre-conditions to discuss the future of Myanmar before the international community piles on the pressure (against the regime),” he told reporters here Saturday night.

Syed Hamid described the separate meetings between United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and Suu Kyi as well as the regime’s top general, Than Shwe, as a “positive and constructive” development.

According to him, this was just a preliminary step as more had to be done to resolve the situation in Myanmar.

“The positive vibes arising from Ibrahim Gambari’s visit should be the basis to start negotiations between the military junta and pro-democracy movement in that country,” he said.

The minister also said China and India, which have close ties with Yangon, should play their role in bringing peace and stability to Myanmar.

Syed Hamid said diplomacy was still the way to go to tackle the country’s woes.

Malaysia, he said, was not in favour of more economic sanctions against Myanmar as they could further harm its people who were already suffering from deprivations.

What was happening in Myanmar, he said, was an issue of international law and human rights violations that did not pose any threat to international peace and security.

Syed Hamid also ruled out the possibility of military action being taken against the regime in Myanmar, describing such a move as “contrary to international law”.