Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Philippines urges Myanmar to free all political prisoners

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario (right) during a meeting with Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Lwin in Bangkok, Thailand
First Posted 14:36:00 04/20/2011

MANILA, Philippinines—The Philippines has urged Myanmar to release the military-ruled nation’s political prisoners, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario noted Myanmar’s roadmap to democracy, which he said is crucial in “establishing a clear path to being able to join other countries of Asean in embracing democracy.”
In a meeting April 10 at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Informal Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the East Asia Summit in Bangkok, Del Rosario conveyed to Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Lwin Manila’s appeal to free the more than 2,000 political prisoners.
The United States has said that the most important step Myanmar can take to improve its international relations is to free its jailed political dissidents.
Lwin said Yanggoon has been making headway in implementing political reforms, citing that national elections were held, a new constitution was adopted, and the Parliament was convened.
The Asean is urging Western nations to lift sanctions against Myanmar, an Asean member. They have been imposed for its alleged rights abuses and suppression of democracy.
The European Union has eased sanctions on Myanmar's government, with the lifting of a visa ban on some civilian members of the regime.
The Obama administration has shifted the long-standing US policy of isolating Myanmar's generals, attempting to engage them while retaining sanctions imposed because of the military's poor record on human rights and democracy.
Washington is also concerned about Myanmar's alleged nuclear ambitions and trade in weapons with North Korea.

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