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Annan meets with envoy from Myanmar, calls for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release

16 July Secretary-General Kofi Annan met today with a senior envoy from Myanmar, voicing his concern about the safety and well being of democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and calling on the government to meet with her.

In a statement issued after a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York between the Secretary-General and U Khin Maung Win, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy of the Union of Myanmar, Mr. Annan said he expressed his "grave concern" about the welfare of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), who have been held incommunicado since the incident of 30 May.

The Secretary-General said that during the meeting, which also included his own Special Envoy for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, he emphasized that they should be released without further delay and that it was the responsibility of the Myanmar Government to ensure the safety of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD colleagues, in or out of detention.

"I remain convinced that the only way to build durable peace in Myanmar is to release the detainees, ensure their political freedoms, and begin substantive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi immediately. To that end, I requested that the Government take the initiative and meet with her," the Secretary-General said.

"The Special Envoy promised me that he would convey these messages to Senior General Than Shwe, the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council and Prime Minister of the Union of Myanmar," he added.

Speaking later to reporters, the Secretary-General was asked if the Security Council would take up the issue of Myanmar. "It is not an item on the Council's agenda," he replied, adding that he was not aware that the 15-nation body would take it up. "But I have sent a message to the General Than Shwe and now we'll wait to see what reaction we get."

Asked if he would refer the matter to the Council, the Secretary-General said that he did not have immediate plans to do so. "But we'll see how things evolve," he said. "I'm not saying it's excluded. I think all things are going to be on the table very soon, but I have sent a message to General Than Shwe."

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