UN council meets to discuss Myanmar’s Suu Kyi verdict


New York : The UN Security Council met Tuesday to discuss a Myanmar court’s verdict against the country’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but failed to agree immediately on a common reaction.

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Council president, British Ambassador John Sawers, said following a closed-door meeting of the 15-nation council that a draft statement reacting to the verdict received “considerable support”.

But “some countries” were seeking instructions from their capitals and the council may resume discussion Wednesday, he said.

The council meeting followed a statement issued earlier Tuesday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly deploring the Myanmar court’s house arrest verdict against Suu Kyi. He called for her immediate and unconditional release.

“Unless she and all other political prisoners in Myanmar are released and allowed to participate in free and fair elections, the credibility of the political process will remain in doubt,” Ban said in a statement.

Myanmar is scheduled to hold general elections in 2010. The military regime already has ruled out Suu Kyi’s participation on the grounds that she married a Briton, who has passed away. She has been under house arrest for more than a decade as leader of the National League for Democracy.

The verdict putting Suu Kyi under house arrest for a further 18 months was an embarrassment for Ban, who last week said he expected a positive and timely response from the military regime in Yangon to his demand for the release of Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s political prisoners.

Ban issued the demand for the political prisoners’ freedom after meeting with the Groups of Friends on Myanmar, composed of some Asian and Western nations, in anticipation of Monday’s verdict.

Suu Kyi was found guilty of harbouring an American in her residence in violations of terms of her house arrest.

“The secretary general urges the government to immediately and unconditionally release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to engage with her without delay as an essential partner in the process of national dialogue and reconciliation,” Ban’s statement said.