Junta, NLD urged to reach agreement

Associated Press

Yangon, May 15:

The UN secretary-general has urged Myanmar’s military government and its main pro-democracy party to reach an agreement under which the party - led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi - would attend a constitution-drafting convention. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party said Friday it will not attend the National Convention, which starts Monday, because the junta has refused to release her from house arrest and accept other demands. The junta said the meet would go on without the NLD - and Suu Kyi and her deputy, NLD Vice Chairman Tim Oo, will remain under arrested.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was disappointed that a deal hadn’t been struck so the NLD and some ethnic parties would join the convention, said a statement yesterday from Annan’s spokesman in New York. The stalemate is a major blow to efforts toward ending the political deadlock in the Southeast Asian nation, which has been ruled by the military since 1962.

The junta said in a statement yesterday that the convention would proceed with other delegates, and that Suu Kyi’s party had made ‘unreasonable demands’. It said Suu Kyi and Tin Oo would remain detained "for the time being to ensure the peaceful development of the National Convention." Some NLD party members applauded the boycott while others voiced concern that it could hinder the party’s participation in Myanmar’s political process.