All ASEAN leaders should separately send the ultimatum to Myanmar that Razaliís trip to Yangon tomorrow and the military juntaís positive response to restart the long-stalled political dialogue process with the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest represent its last chance to prevent exclusion of Myanmar from the ASEAN Bali Summit next month
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Indonesian President Megawarti Sukarnoputriís demand that Myanmar state clearly whether it plans to keep Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest or free her immediately should be supported by all the other ASEAN leaders, with every ASEAN leader sending a strong individual message in the same vein to Yangon.
In fact, all ASEAN leaders should separately send the ultimatum to Myanmar that the trip of the United Nations special envoy to Burma Tan Sri Razali Ismail to Yangon tomorrow and the military juntaís positive response to his latest endeavour to restart the long-stalled political dialogue process with the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi represent its last chance to prevent the exclusion of Myanmar from the ASEAN Bali Summit next month.
After the unmitigated failure of Razaliís June visit to Yangon, where a trip meant to restart the stalled political dialogue in Burma to bring about national reconciliation between the military junta, the National League for Democracy and the ethnic minorities was completely derailed to one to desperately save the ďfaceĒ of the United Nations just to get access to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who was by then again behind bars, nobody can be sanguine about Razaliís latest journey to Burma.
After the more spirited stand of the ASEAN Foreign Ministersí Meeting in Phonm Penh in June to show that ASEAN is not the weakest link in providing support to the United Nations and its special envoy to pressure the Myanmar military junta to respect international opinion and the fundamental rights of the Burmese for democratization and national reconciliation, ASEAN leaders should not let up on the pressure on Myanmar in the run-up to the ASEAN Summit in Bali on Oct. 7 -8.
If Razaliís visit to Yangon tomorrow is another unmitigated failure and Suu Kyi is not immediately and unconditionally released from her new house arrest, ASEAN leaders must be strong enough to exclude Myanmar from the Bali ASEAN Summit and come out with a firm policy statement in Bali that Myanmarís seven-stage roadmap to democracy must be the result of a political dialogue after Suu Kyiís release and not from any unilateral announcement by the military junta.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman